The Japanese jewel beetle: a painter's challenge

F. Schenk, B. D. Wilts, D. G. Stavenga

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

25 Citaten (Scopus)


Colours as dynamic as the metallic-like hues adorning the Japanese jewel beetle have never been captured on canvas before. Unlike, and unmatched by, the chemical pigments of the artist's palette, the effect is generated by layered microstructures that refract and reflect light to make colour visible. Exclusive to nature for millions of years, such jewel-like colouration is only now being introduced to art. Sustained scientific research into nature's iridescent multilayer reflectors has recently led to the development and manufacture of analogous synthetic structures, notably innovative light interference flakes. For the first time this novel technology offers artists the exciting, yet challenging, potential to accurately depict nature's iridescence. Mimicking the Japanese jewel beetle by using paints with embedded flakes, we demonstrate that the resulting painting, just like the model, displays iridescent colours that shift with minute variation of the angle of light and viewing.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's10
TijdschriftBioinspiration & biomimetics
Nummer van het tijdschrift4
StatusPublished - dec.-2013

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