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Modeling the Reflectance Changes Induced by Vapor Condensation in Lycaenid Butterfly Wing Scales Colored by Photonic Nanoarchitectures

Institute of Technical Physics and Materials Science, Centre for Energy Research, P.O. Box 49, H-1525 Budapest, Hungary
Hungarian Natural History Museum, Baross utca 13, H-1088 Budapest, Hungary
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(5), 759;
Received: 29 March 2019 / Revised: 9 May 2019 / Accepted: 10 May 2019 / Published: 17 May 2019
PDF [7132 KB, uploaded 17 May 2019]
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Gas/vapor sensors based on photonic band gap-type materials are attractive as they allow a quick optical readout. The photonic nanoarchitectures responsible for the coloration of the wing scales of many butterfly species possessing structural color exhibit chemical selectivity, i.e., give vapor-specific optical response signals. Modeling this complex physical-chemical process is very important to be able to exploit the possibilities of these photonic nanoarchitectures. We performed measurements of the ethanol vapor concentration-dependent reflectance spectra of the Albulina metallica butterfly, which exhibits structural color on both the dorsal (blue) and ventral (gold-green) wing sides. Using a numerical analysis of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images, we revealed the details of the photonic nanoarchitecture inside the wing scales. On both sides, it is a 1D + 2D structure, a stack of layers, where the layers contain a quasi-ordered arrangement of air voids embedded in chitin. Next, we built a parametric simulation model that matched the measured spectra. The reflectance spectra were calculated by ab-initio methods by assuming variable amounts of vapor condensed to liquid in the air voids, as well as vapor concentration-dependent swelling of the chitin. From fitting the simulated results to the measured spectra, we found a similar swelling on both wing surfaces, but more liquid was found to concentrate in the smaller air voids for each vapor concentration value measured.
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Keywords: photonic crystals; finite element calculation; capillary condensation photonic crystals; finite element calculation; capillary condensation

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Márk, G.I.; Kertész, K.; Piszter, G.; Bálint, Z.; Biró, L.P. Modeling the Reflectance Changes Induced by Vapor Condensation in Lycaenid Butterfly Wing Scales Colored by Photonic Nanoarchitectures. Nanomaterials 2019, 9, 759.

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