Blue Morpho

Zoom into a Blue Morpho Butterfly video

Zoom into the natural nanostructures that manipulate light on a Blue Morpho Butterfly! Starting with a normal digital camera, we zoom into the wing of the Blue Morpho using more powerful microscopes. We see the wing underneath an optical microscope, and finally, a scanning electron microscope. You'll see the 200 nanometer structures that produce the beautiful blue iridescent color of the Blue Morpho.

Scientific Image - Blue Morpho Butterfly

The iridescent colors of the Blue Morpho Butterfly's wings are produced by nanostructures that reflect different wavelengths of light.

The Blue Morpho is common in Central and South America and known for its bright blue wings. However, these iridescent colors are created not by pigments in the wing tissues but instead by the way light interacts with nanometer-sized structures on the Morpho's wing scales. This effect is being studied as a model in the development of new fabrics, dye-free paints, and anti-counterfeit technologies for currency.

Biomimicry: From Nature to Nanotech

Visitors will engage in activities showing various natural phenomena that scientists and engineers have emulated to address human problems. Visitors view peacock feathers at different angles to see iridescence, apply drops of water to observe the color changes, and look at other examples of iridescence in nature, such as a blue Morpho butterfly, tropical beetle wings, and abalone shells. Visitors also explore the Lotus Effect by applying drops of water onto Lotusan paint and stain resistant fabrics, two technologies that mimic the Lotus effect.

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