Optically-ambidextrous circularly-polarised reflection from the chiral cuticle of the scarab beetle Chrysina resplendens
Finlayson, Ewan D.
McDonald, Luke T.
Reason for embargo
The evolution of structural colour mechanisms in biological systems has given rise to many interesting optical effects in animals and plants. The instance of the scarab beetle Chrysina resplendens is particularly distinctive. Its exoskeleton has a bright, golden appearance and reflects both right-handed and left-handed circularly-polarized light concurrently. The chiral nanostructure responsible for these properties is a helicoid, in which birefringent dielectric planes are assembled with an incremental rotation. This study correlates details of the beetle’s circularly-polarized reflectance spectra directly with physical aspects of its structural morphology. Electron micrography is used to identify and measure the physical dimensions of the key constituent components. These include a chiral multilayer configuration comprising two chirped, lefthanded helicoids that are separated by a birefringent retarder. A scattering matrix technique is used to simulate the system’s optical behaviour in which the roles of each component of the morphological substructure are elucidated by calculation of the fields throughout its depth.
This work was supported by AFOSR grant number FA9550-10-1- 0020.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Royal Society via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 14, Iss. 131