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Authors: László P. Biró, Zsolt Bálint, Zofia Vértesy, Krisztián Kertész, Géza I. Márk, Virginie Lousse, and Jean-Pol Vigneron

The complex photonic crystal type nanoarchitectures found in the wing scales of the male butterfly Cyanophrys remus were investigated structurally by electron microscopy and optically by reflectance spectroscopy. Both the vivid metallic blue of the dorsal scales and the matt, pea-green coloration of the ventral scales are attributed to photonic crystal type structures composed of chitin and air. The dorsal scales are single crystalline, while the ventral ones contain a large number of randomly oriented micron size single crystalline grains of face centered cubic inverse opal. The remarkable complexity and efficiency of biologic photonic crystals may provide clues in designing artificial structures with similar parameters.

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