Encyclopedia of Nanotechnology

Living Edition
| Editors: Bharat Bhushan

Nanostructures for Coloration (Organisms Other Than Animals)

  • Ille C. Gebeshuber
  • David W. Lee
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6178-0_216-2



Structural colors refer to colors generated by minuscule structures, with the characteristic dimension of the structures on the order of the wavelength of the visible light (i.e., some tens up to hundreds of nanometers). Examples for structural colors are the colors of CDs and DVDs, the colors of soap bubbles or oil films on water (thin films), or the colors of certain butterfly wings (e.g., photonic crystals) and even plants. Tiny wax crystals in the blue spruce scatter the light (Tyndall scattering), resulting in the blue hue. Thin films in tropical understory plants and diffraction gratings in hibiscus and tulip flowers are just some more examples of the amazing variety of natural nanostructures that are the basis for coloration in some plants. This entry reviews the physics behind structural colors; lists plants, microorganisms, and virus species with nanostructures responsible...


Photonic Crystal Structural Color Slime Mold Diffraction Grating Cholesteric Liquid Crystal 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Applied PhysicsVienna University of TechnologyWienAustria
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesFlorida International University Modesto Maidique CampusMiamiUSA