Approaches to mimic the metallic sheen in beetles

Bidragets oversatte titel: Tilgange til at efterligne billers metaliske glans

Torben Anker Lenau, Martin Aggerbeck, Steffen Nielsen

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapport/konference proceedingKonferenceartikel i proceedingForskningpeer review

1 Citationer (Scopus)


A range of different beetles exhibits brilliant colours and metallic sheen. One of the most spectacular species is the Plusiotis resplendens from Central America with gold metal appearance. The beetle shells are made from chitin and have a number of unique properties that apart from spectacular aesthetic effects include metal sheen from non-metal surfaces combined with electric and thermal insulation. The reflection mechanism has been studied by a number of authors and is well understood. Basically there are 2 different reflection principles. One is the multilayer reflector where alternating layers have high and low refractive index. The other is the Bouligand structure where birefringent chiral nanofibres are organised in spiral structures. The paper describes work done to explore different approaches to mimic these structures using polymer based materials and production methods that are suitable for more complex double curved geometry. One approach is to use alternating layers of 2 different polymers applied by dipping and another is applying cholesteric liquid crystals in paint. However, none of them can yet make the desired metal-looking free-form surfaces.
Bidragets oversatte titelTilgange til at efterligne billers metaliske glans
TitelProc. SPIE 7401 : Biomimetics and Bioinspiration
Antal sider9
UdgivelsesstedSan Diego
ForlagSPIE - International Society for Optical Engineering
Publikationsdato21 aug. 2009
StatusUdgivet - 21 aug. 2009


  • Biomimetics
  • aesthetics
  • beetles
  • structural colour
  • thin layer interference
  • bouligand structure
  • cholesteric liquid crystals