Abstract

A numerical method for simulation of microscale radiation effects in insect thin-film structures is described. Accounting for solar beam and diffuse radiation, the model calculates the reflectivity and emissivity of such structures. A case study examines microscale radiation effects in butterfuly wings, and results reveal a new function of these multilayer thin films: thermal regulation. For film thicknesses of the order of 0.10 μm, solar absorption levels vary by as much as 25% with small changes in film thickness; for certain existing structures, absorption levels reach 96%., This is attributed to the spectral distribution of the reflected radiation, which consists of a singular reflectance peak within the solar spectrum.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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