Reverse color sequence in the diffraction of white light by the wing of the male butterfly Pierella luna (Nymphalidae: Satyrinae)

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Abstract

The butterfly Pierella luna (Nymphalidae) shows an intriguing rainbow iridescence effect: the forewings of the male, when illuminated along the axis from the body to the wing tip, decompose a white light beam as a diffraction grating would do. Violet light, however, emerges along a grazing angle, near the wing surface, while the other colors, from blue to red, exit respectively at angles progressively closer to the direction perpendicular to the wing plane. This sequence is the reverse of the usual decomposition of light by a grating with a periodicity parallel to the wing surface. It is shown that this effect is produced by a macroscopic deformation of the entire scale, which curls in such a way that it forms a "vertical" grating, perpendicular to the wing surface, and functions in transmission instead of reflection.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Volume82
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2010

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wings
Diffraction
Reverse
color
Perpendicular
Gratings
diffraction
Angle
Decompose
Diffraction Grating
iridescence
Curl
wing tips
gratings
Periodicity
rainbows
grazing
gratings (spectra)
Vertical
light beams

Cite this

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title = "Reverse color sequence in the diffraction of white light by the wing of the male butterfly Pierella luna (Nymphalidae: Satyrinae)",
abstract = "The butterfly Pierella luna (Nymphalidae) shows an intriguing rainbow iridescence effect: the forewings of the male, when illuminated along the axis from the body to the wing tip, decompose a white light beam as a diffraction grating would do. Violet light, however, emerges along a grazing angle, near the wing surface, while the other colors, from blue to red, exit respectively at angles progressively closer to the direction perpendicular to the wing plane. This sequence is the reverse of the usual decomposition of light by a grating with a periodicity parallel to the wing surface. It is shown that this effect is produced by a macroscopic deformation of the entire scale, which curls in such a way that it forms a {"}vertical{"} grating, perpendicular to the wing surface, and functions in transmission instead of reflection.",
author = "J.P. Vigneron and P. Simonis and A. Bay and J.-F. Colomer and M. Rassart and A. Aiello and D.M. Windsor",
note = "Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.",
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AU - Simonis, P.

AU - Bay, A.

AU - Colomer, J.-F.

AU - Rassart, M.

AU - Aiello, A.

AU - Windsor, D.M.

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AB - The butterfly Pierella luna (Nymphalidae) shows an intriguing rainbow iridescence effect: the forewings of the male, when illuminated along the axis from the body to the wing tip, decompose a white light beam as a diffraction grating would do. Violet light, however, emerges along a grazing angle, near the wing surface, while the other colors, from blue to red, exit respectively at angles progressively closer to the direction perpendicular to the wing plane. This sequence is the reverse of the usual decomposition of light by a grating with a periodicity parallel to the wing surface. It is shown that this effect is produced by a macroscopic deformation of the entire scale, which curls in such a way that it forms a "vertical" grating, perpendicular to the wing surface, and functions in transmission instead of reflection.

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