iridescent

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Colors at the Nanoscale: Butterflies, Beetles and Opals

In this activity, museum visitors will be exposed to the term ‘Photonic Crystals’. They will see and explore some of the well-known photonic crystals in nature and will also be able observe one method that scientists use in trying to replicate this process.

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Scientific Image - Blue Morpho Butterfly Wing (reflected light)

The colors of the Blue Morpho's wing are generated by nanometer-sized structures on the wing's scales. In this image, light reflected from the scales creates the Morpho's characteristic iridescent blue color.

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-...

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Scientific Image - Blue Morpho Butterfly Wing (non-reflected light)

The colors of the Blue Morpho's wing are generated by nanometer-sized structures on the wing's scales. In this image, only the light passing through the wing is seen, revealing the wing's pigment-produced brown hue.

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...

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Scientific Image- Blue Morpho Butterfly Wing Ridges

This scanning electron microscope image shows ridges on a Blue Morpho Butterfly wing scale. These ridges contain nanoscale structures that reflect light to create the Morpho's iridescent colors.

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...

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Scientific Image - Blue Morpho Butterfly Wing Scales

The overlapping scales on the wing of the Blue Morpho Butterfly contain nanoscale structures that reflect light to create iridescent colors. This scanning electron microscope image shows Morpho wing scales from above.

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...

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Why are Seashells so Strong?

In this hands-on activity, visitors explore the structure of seashells and learn that seashells are a composite material made of both inorganic and organic materials. Visitors compare the mechanical properties of plaster bricks and dried sheets of glue, which helps them discover that both toughness and hardness are important mechanical properties. To see what a shell would be like if it were not so tough, visitors try to break normal shells and shells that have been either baked or soaked in bleach.

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Butterfly Blues video

Mr. O talks about iridescence and Blue Morpho butterflies in another "O Wow" moment at the Children's Museum of Houston.

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Exploring Structures - Butterfly (NanoDays 2012)

"Exploring Structures - Butterfly" is a hands-on activity in which visitors investigate how some butterfly wings get their color. They learn that some wings get their color from the nanoscale structures on the wings instead of pigments.

"Explore Science - Zoom info Nano Morphing Butterfly" (2016) version designed for groups and community outreach.

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Exploring Materials - Thin Films

"Exploring Materials - Thin Films" is a hands-on activity in which visitors create a colorful bookmark using a super thin layer of nail polish on water. They learn that a thin film creates iridescent, rainbow colors.

"Explore Science - Zoom info Nano Rainbow Film" (2016) version designed for groups and community outreach.

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