Color - Structural Color

Structural Color

Further information: Structural coloration and Animal coloration

Structural colors are colors caused by interference effects rather than by pigments. Color effects are produced when a material is scored with fine parallel lines, formed of one or more parallel thin layers, or otherwise composed of microstructures on the scale of the color's wavelength. If the microstructures are spaced randomly, light of shorter wavelengths will be scattered preferentially to produce Tyndall effect colors: the blue of the sky (Rayleigh scattering, caused by structures much smaller than the wavelength of light, in this case air molecules), the luster of opals, and the blue of human irises. If the microstructures are aligned in arrays, for example the array of pits in a CD, they behave as a diffraction grating: the grating reflects different wavelengths in different directions due to interference phenomena, separating mixed "white" light into light of different wavelengths. If the structure is one or more thin layers then it will reflect some wavelengths and transmit others, depending on the layers' thickness.

Structural color is studied in the field of thin-film optics. A layman's term that describes particularly the most ordered or the most changeable structural colors is iridescence. Structural color is responsible for the blues and greens of the feathers of many birds (the blue jay, for example), as well as certain butterfly wings and beetle shells. Variations in the pattern's spacing often give rise to an iridescent effect, as seen in peacock feathers, soap bubbles, films of oil, and mother of pearl, because the reflected color depends upon the viewing angle. Numerous scientists have carried out research in butterfly wings and beetle shells, including Isaac Newton and Robert Hooke. Since 1942, electron micrography has been used, advancing the development of products that exploit structural color, such as "photonic" cosmetics.

Read more about this topic:  Color

Other articles related to "color, structural color":

Plant Pigments
... are substances produced by living organisms that have a color resulting from selective color absorption ... Pigment color differs from structural color in that it is the same for all viewing angles, whereas structural color is the result of selective reflection or iridescence ... For example, butterfly wings typically contain structural color, although many butterflies have cells that contain pigment as well ...
Biological Pigments
... octopus and chameleon can be controlled to vary the animal's color ... Pigment color differs from structural color in that it is the same for all viewing angles, whereas structural color is the result of selective ... For example, butterfly wings typically contain structural color, although many butterflies have cells that contain pigment as well ...

Famous quotes containing the words color and/or structural:

    Rain falls into the open eyes of the dead
    Again again with its pointless sound
    When the moon finds them they are the color of everything
    William Stanley Merwin (b. 1927)

    The reader uses his eyes as well as or instead of his ears and is in every way encouraged to take a more abstract view of the language he sees. The written or printed sentence lends itself to structural analysis as the spoken does not because the reader’s eye can play back and forth over the words, giving him time to divide the sentence into visually appreciated parts and to reflect on the grammatical function.
    J. David Bolter (b. 1951)