Diamond beetles

  May 26/June 2, 2008
The future of technologies that use light to transmit information and generate electricity could lie in the scales of an iridescent green beetle.

The scales' microscopic structure is a lattice in the same pattern as the arrangement of carbon atoms in diamond. Researchers have been making photonic crystals of various types to precisely controls lightwaves, but have yet to achieve the ideal structure for efficiently manipulating visible light.

The beetle's scales could serve as a model for building three-dimensional visible light photonic crystal. The technology could be used to speed computer chips and networks, make microscopes more powerful, and make solar cells more efficient.

Research paper:
Discovery of a Diamond-based Photonic Crystal Structure in Beetle Scales
Physical Review E, May 2008

Researcher's homepage:
Bartl Group

Related stories and briefs:
Butterflies master photonics (the scales of butterfly wings are photonic crystals)

Back to TRN May 26/June 2, 2008

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