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Beetle masters optics

Study finds cells in the shell twist light in a particular way

By
2:37pm, July 23, 2009

Jeweled beetles’ resplendent shells have physicists green with envy. Intricate arrangements of cells on the beetles’ outer layers manipulate light in a special way, a study published online July 23 in Science reveals. Understanding the shell’s structure might prove useful for designing new optical devices.

Chrysina gloriosa get their greenish color from microstructures in their exoskeleton rather than from pigment. Study coauthor Mohan Srinivasarao of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and his colleagues have found that these structures are also responsible for the beetles’ light-bending tricks. Light hitting the shell is reflected by the microstruc

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