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.
|Journal||Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics|
|Publication status||Published - 4 Aug 2010|