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Author Topic: Are some colours due to structure rather than pigment?  (Read 5200 times)

Ricardo Hernandez Lopez

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Ricardo Hernandez Lopez asked the Naked Scientists:

Hi,

Is it true that the colour of feathers of parrots are due to the structure of the feathers and not the pigments??

What about the colour of butterflies or those blue/green flies??

Can we use those colours for TV screens or fancy cars?

Thanks,
Ricardo

What do you think?


 

Offline Soul Surfer

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Are some colours due to structure rather than pigment?
« Reply #1 on: 10/11/2008 19:39:03 »
Yes that is true a restricted range of spectacular colours can be produced by regular structures of reflectors on the feathers and scales of birds and butterflies these cause certain frequencies in the incident light to be reflected strongly while others are not reflected well and absorbed.  Interference fringe colours have a special iridescent quality.
 

Offline RD

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Are some colours due to structure rather than pigment?
« Reply #2 on: 10/11/2008 22:21:37 »
Can we use those colours for TV screens or fancy cars?


Quote
Coolest new car colors
A car that changes from pink to white as it drives by?
The latest developments in manufacturing make fancy paint colors mainstream...

At the extreme of color shifting paints are the ChromaFlair colors created by JDS Uniphase.
These pigments use colorless flakes which refract light creating colors in the same way that butterfly wings and bird feathers do.
http://edition.cnn.com/2007/AUTOS/04/09/car_colors/index.html

Very "pimp-my-ride".
 

lyner

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Are some colours due to structure rather than pigment?
« Reply #3 on: 10/11/2008 22:28:46 »
This is the same phenomenon as you see in thin oil films on water. You can get any colour you want using 'dichroic' filters. They work by interference rather than absorption. Hence they seem much brighter because there is none of the overall loss which you get with pigments.
Furthermore, the birds and butterflies don't need a load of fancy chemical elements to produce the pigments. They just need to produce layers of keratin(?) of the appropriate thickness.

 

Offline nicephotog

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Are some colours due to structure rather than pigment?
« Reply #4 on: 23/11/2008 11:34:55 »
Wavelength splitting(e.g. prisms Pink Floyd)
Soul Surfer: ..."reflectors on the feathers"...
Refraction..............
 

lyner

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Are some colours due to structure rather than pigment?
« Reply #5 on: 23/11/2008 15:59:49 »
Wavelength splitting(e.g. prisms Pink Floyd)
Soul Surfer: ..."reflectors on the feathers"...
Refraction..............
No - not refraction / dispersion: interference filters.
 

Offline nicephotog

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Are some colours due to structure rather than pigment?
« Reply #6 on: 24/11/2008 05:54:10 »
...Can we use those colours for TV screens or fancy cars?...
I'm reasonably sure even LCD is an electronic fluorescency of the chemical by ground state.
Try Fire-flies, min mins e.t.c.
I thought birds feathers were by refraction? Not that it matters here finally.
Electric eels and chameleons may be a place to look.
 

lyner

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Are some colours due to structure rather than pigment?
« Reply #7 on: 24/11/2008 09:46:21 »
colour LCD screens use a White backlight and colour filters in all pixels with LCD modulators in front.
Birds feathers: interference filters, with a big range of colours.
Fireflies: chemical luminescence, with a limited set of colours but works at night!
 

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Are some colours due to structure rather than pigment?
« Reply #7 on: 24/11/2008 09:46:21 »

 

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