Hemispherical Brillouin zone imaging of a diamond-type biological photonic crystal

Bodo D. Wilts*, Kristel Michielsen, Hans De Raedt, Doekele G. Stavenga

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    43 Citations (Scopus)


    The brilliant structural body colours of many animals are created by three-dimensional biological photonic crystals that act as wavelength-specific reflectors. Here, we report a study on the vividly coloured scales of the diamond weevil, Entimus imperialis. Electron microscopy identified the chitin and air assemblies inside the scales as domains of a single-network diamond (Fd3m) photonic crystal. We visualized the topology of the first Brillouin zone (FBZ) by imaging scatterometry, and we reconstructed the complete photonic band structure diagram (PBSD) of the chitinous photonic crystal from reflectance spectra. Comparison with calculated PBSDs indeed showed a perfect overlap. The unique method of non-invasive hemispherical imaging of the FBZ provides key insights for the investigation of photonic crystals in the visible wavelength range. The characterized extremely large biophotonic nanostructures of E. imperialis are structurally optimized for high reflectance and may thus be well suited for use as a template for producing novel photonic devices, e.g. through biomimicry or direct infiltration from dielectric material.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1609-1614
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
    Issue number72
    Publication statusPublished - 7-Jul-2012


    • photonic bandgap materials
    • structural colour
    • Coleoptera
    • biomimetics
    • biomaterials
    • iridescence
    • SCALES
    • WEEVIL

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