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.
Changing Colors is an interactive exhibit that shows how some high-tech nanomaterials mimic natural phenomena. Super-small, light-reflecting structures—instead of pigments—on the wings of some butterflies create intense, iridescent colors. Nanoscientists have replicated this effect with layered, super-thin films. Watch the colors change on butterfly wings and thin-film slides as you move them beneath a light source, and discover how nanoscale structures can manipulate light and create color. Butterfly specimens deteriorate with heavy use, and may need to be replaced periodically.
Scanning Electron Microscope image of the overlapping scales on a Blue Morpho Butterfly wing. • SIZE: Scale bar representes 20 µm. • IMAGING TOOL: Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)
Ideas for incorporating current science, engineering, and technology content into holidays, seasons, annual events, and special events: from STEM-themed events like National Chemistry Week and Astronomy Day to holidays like Halloween and Valentine's Day!