Diatoms as living photonic crystals
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We present an analysis of the optical structure of a representative diatom, Coscinodiscus granii. The silica cell wall can be regarded as a photonic crystal slab waveguide with moderate refractive-index contrast. In a cell, at least two different patterns are found: a hexagonal array of pores with a large lattice constant in the valve, and a square array of holes with a small lattice constant in the girdle. It is demonstrated that light can be coupled into the waveguide and that there are some photonic resonances in the visible spectral range, which have been determined by band-structure calculations.
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