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The role of random nanostructures for the omnidirectional anti-reflection properties of the glasswing butterfly

Nature Communications volume 6, Article number: 6909 (2015) | Download Citation

Abstract

The glasswing butterfly (Greta oto) has, as its name suggests, transparent wings with remarkable low haze and reflectance over the whole visible spectral range even for large view angles of 80°. This omnidirectional anti-reflection behaviour is caused by small nanopillars covering the transparent regions of its wings. In difference to other anti-reflection coatings found in nature, these pillars are irregularly arranged and feature a random height and width distribution. Here we simulate the optical properties with the effective medium theory and transfer matrix method and show that the random height distribution of pillars significantly reduces the reflection not only for normal incidence but also for high view angles.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Stefan Reisch (Mainau GmbH) for supplying the glasswing butterfly samples, Robby Prang for SEM and FIB imaging and Abrar Faisal for the measurement of the glasswing’s structural distribution. Furthermore, we are indebted to Faima Sharmin for guiding our interest to the glasswing butterfly, Maryna Kavalenka for the reading of the manuscript and Abdullah Al Helal for the discussion of the mathematical analysis. Finally, we acknowledge fruitful discussions with all members of the Biomimetics group at KIT. G.G. acknowledges the funding by the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation. This work was partly carried out with the support of the Karlsruhe School of Optics and Photonics (KSOP, www.ksop.idschools.kit.edu) and the Karlsruhe Nano Micro Facility (KNMF, www.kit.edu/knmf), a Helmholtz Research Infrastructure at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT, www.kit.edu).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Institute for Microstructure Technology, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1, 76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany

    • Radwanul Hasan Siddique
    •  & Hendrik Hölscher
  2. Light Technology Institute (LTI), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Engesserstrasse 13, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany

    • Guillaume Gomard

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Contributions

R.H.S. and H.H. designed the study, developed the analytic description of the anti-reflection properties and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. R.H.S. and G.G. conducted the experiments and analysed the data. R.H.S. performed the simulations. All authors discussed the results and participated in writing the final manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hendrik Hölscher.

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    Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Figures 1-4, Supplementary Note 1.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms7909

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