Photonic polycrystal in the greenish-white scales of the African longhorn beetle Prosopocera lactator (Cerambycidae)

J.-F. Colomer, P. Simonis, A. Bay, M. Rassart, C. Vandenbem, J.P. Vigneron, P. Cloetens, H. Suhonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three-dimensional photonic-crystal grains were found in the scales of the longhorn beetle Prosopocera lactator (Cerambycidae). The local geometric structure can be described as a face-centered-cubic array of spheres, connected by short rods, reminiscent of the "ball-and-stick" models used by solid-state chemists to visualize atomic structures. Based on scanning electron microscopy, x-ray nanotomography, optical measurements, photonic band-structure calculations, and computer simulations of the reflectance, the desaturated greenish coloration is shown to arise from the observed photonic polycrystalline structure. X-ray nanotomography is revealed as a very promising tool for photonic-crystal morphology studies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2012

Cite this