Document Detail

Amorphous diamond-structured photonic crystal in the feather barbs of the scarlet macaw.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22615350     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Noniridescent coloration by the spongy keratin in parrot feather barbs has fascinated scientists. Nonetheless, its ultimate origin remains as yet unanswered, and a quantitative structural and optical description is still lacking. Here we report on structural and optical characterizations and numerical simulations of the blue feather barbs of the scarlet macaw. We found that the sponge in the feather barbs is an amorphous diamond-structured photonic crystal with only short-range order. It possesses an isotropic photonic pseudogap that is ultimately responsible for the brilliant noniridescent coloration. We further unravel an ingenious structural optimization for attaining maximum coloration apparently resulting from natural evolution. Upon increasing the material refractive index above the level provided by nature, there is an interesting transition from a photonic pseudogap to a complete bandgap.
Haiwei Yin; Biqin Dong; Xiaohan Liu; Tianrong Zhan; Lei Shi; Jian Zi; Eli Yablonovitch
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.     Date:  2012-05-21
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America     Volume:  109     ISSN:  1091-6490     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.     Publication Date:  2012 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-07-04     Completed Date:  2012-09-18     Revised Date:  2013-06-24    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505876     Medline TA:  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  10798-801     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Physics, Key Laboratory of Micro and Nano Photonic Structures (Ministry of Education), Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, People's Republic of China.
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MeSH Terms
Feathers / chemistry*,  ultrastructure*
Keratins / chemistry*
Melanins / chemistry
Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
Optics and Photonics
Parrots / anatomy & histology*
Vacuoles / chemistry,  ultrastructure
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Melanins; 68238-35-7/Keratins
Erratum In:
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jul 24;109(30):12260

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