Nanoarchitecture in the black wings of Troides magellanus: A natural case of absorption enhancement in photonic materials

A. Herman, C. Vandenbem, O. Deparis, P. Simonis, J.P. Vigneron

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The birdwings butterfly Troides magellanus possesses interesting properties for light and thermal radiation management. The black wings of the male exhibit strong (98%) absorption of visible light as well as two strong absorption peaks in the infrared (3 μm and 6 μm) both due to chitin. These peaks are located in the spectral region where the black body emits at 313K. The study of absorption enhancement in this butterfly could be helpful to design highly absorbent biomimetic materials. Observations of the wings using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) reveal that the scales covering the wings are deeply nanostructured. A periodic three-dimensional (3D) model of the scale nanoarchitecture is elaborated and used for numerical transfer-matrix simulations of the absorption spectrum. The complex refractive index of the wing material is approximated by a multi-oscillator Lorentz model, leading to a broad absorption in the visible range as well as two peaks in the infrared. The absorption peak intensities turn out to be dependent on the complexity of the nanostructures. This result clearly demonstrates a structural effect on the absorption. Finally, a comparison with a planar layer of identical refractive index and material volume lead us to conclude that the absorption is enhanced by nanostructures.
langue originaleAnglais
titreProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Les DOIs
Etat de la publicationPublié - 1 janv. 2011

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