Reflections on iridescent neck and breast feathers of the peacock, Pavo cristatus

Pascal Freyer, Bodo D. Wilts, Doekele G. Stavenga

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

15 Citaten (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


The blue neck and breast feathers of the peacock are structurally coloured due to an intricate photonic crystal structure in the barbules consisting of a two-dimensionally ordered rectangular lattice of melanosomes (melanin rodlets) and air channels embedded in a keratin matrix. We here investigate the feather coloration by performing microspectrophotometry, imaging scatterometry and angle-dependent reflectance measurements. Using previously determined wavelength-dependent refractive indices of melanin and keratin, we interpret the spectral and spatial reflection characteristics by comparing the measured spectra to calculated spectra by effective-medium multilayer and full three-dimensional finite-difference time-domain modelling. Both modelling methods yield similar reflectance spectra indicating that simple multilayer modelling is adequate for a direct understanding of the brilliant coloration of peacock feathers.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's9
TijdschriftInterface Focus
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
StatusPublished - 6-feb.-2019

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