Abstract

The range and stability of structural colors generated by Morpho-inspired color reflectors are investigated. We find that despite the internal randomness of such structures that gives rise to their Morpho-like angle-independent iridescence, their colors under ambient lighting condition can be predicted by simple transfer-matrix calculations of corresponding planar multilayer structures. By calculating the possible range of colors generated by multilayers of different structures and material combinations using such transfer-matrix methods, we find that low-refractive index multilayers with intrastructure absorption, such as the melanin-containing chitin/air multilayer structure from the Morpho butterflies, can provide not only the most pure structural colors with the largest color gamut, but also the highest stability of color against variations in multilayer structure.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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