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6 March 2014 1:04 pm ,
Vol. 343 ,
Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
- 6 March 2014 1:04 pm , Vol. 343 , #6175
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ScienceShot: The Brilliant Wings of Butterflies
14 June 2010 3:00 pm
Call it the "butterfly effect." The insects owe their brilliant looks to photonic nanostructures—crystalline structures in their wings that reflect light and repeat on the order of every few nanometers—and now scientists think that they have figured out how these structures create such vivid colors. As a butterfly's wings develop in the larval stage, so-called scale cells die, leaving behind a hard substance known as chitin in a specific gyroid configuration. Single gyroids reflect almost all of the light that hits them, but only certain colors are reflected in butterfly wings because of the way the chitin molecules are arranged, researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Engineers might be able to capitalize on these unique light reflecting properties of single gyroids to produce more efficient solar cells and even new cosmetics and paints.
See more ScienceShots.