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Figure 12
The blue colour of this butterfly is not due to any pigment but to the interaction of visible light with the microstructures of the scales of its wings. These microstructures that life has been creating for millions of years are what today we know as photonic crystals. Many other living beings colour their bodies making similar structures capable of diffracting visible light, emitting green–blue and iridescent colours. These are the so-called structural colours. Do you know how these crystalline microstructures are formed? Would you like to find out how they are made and what photonic crystals are used for? Do you know any other examples of animal or plant that use this type of crystal?

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