Structural colors from Morpho peleides butterfly wing scales

Yong Ding, Sheng Xu, Zhong Lin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


A male Morpho peleides butterfly wing is decorated by two types of scales, cover and ground scales. We have studied the optical properties of each type of scales in conjunction with the structural information provided by cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy and computer simulation. The shining blue color is mainly from the Bragg reflection of the one-dimensional photonic structure, e.g., the shelf structure packed regularly in each ridges on cover scales. A thin-film-like interference effect from the base plate of the cover scale enhances such blue color and further gives extra reflection peaks in the infrared and ultraviolet regions. The analogy in the spectra acquired from the original wing and that from the cover scales suggests that the cover scales take a dominant role in its structural color. This study provides insight of using the biotemplates for fabricating smart photonic structures. © 2009 American Institute of Physics.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)074702
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 12 2009
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This research was supported by the BES DOE (Grant No. DE-FG02-07ER46394), the (U.S.) Air Force Office of Scientific Research (Grant No. FA9550-08-1-0446), the KAUST Global Research Partnership, the World Premier International Research Center (WPI) Initiative on Materials Nanoarchitectonics, and the MEXT, Japan.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


Dive into the research topics of 'Structural colors from Morpho peleides butterfly wing scales'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this