Tunable Natural Nano-Arrays: Controlling Surface Properties and Light Reflectance

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Watson, Jolanta
Myhra, Sverre
Watson, Gregory
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Jung-Chih Chiao, Andrew S. Dzurak, Chennupati Jagadish, David V. Thiel


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Brisbane, Australia


The general principles of optical design based on the theories of reflection, refraction and diffraction have been rigorously developed and optimized over the last three centuries. Of increasing importance has been the ability to predict and devise new optical technologies designed for specific functions. A key design feature of many of today's optical materials is the control of reflection and light transmittance through the medium. A sudden transition or impedance mismatch from one optical medium to another can result in unwanted reflections from the surface plane. Modification of a surface by creation of a gradual change in refractive index over a significant portion of a wavelength range will result in a reduction in reflection. An alternative surface modification to the multi layered stack coating (gradient index coating) is to produce a surface with structures having a period and height shorter than the light wavelength. These structures act like a pseudo-gradient index coating and can be described by the effective medium theory. Bernhard and Miller some forty years ago were the first to observe such structures found on the surface of insects. These were found in the form of hexagonally close packed nanometre sized protrusions on the corneal surface of certain moths. In this study we report on similar structures which we have found on certain species of cicada wings demonstrating that the reflective/transmission properties of these natural nano-structures can be tuned by controlled removal of the structure height using Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM).

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SPIE volume 6037: Device and Process Technologies for Microelectronics, MEMS, and Photonics IV

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© 2006 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. This paper was published in SPIE volume 6037: Device and Process Technologies for Microelectonics, MEMS, and Photonics IV and is made available as an electronic reprint with permission of SPIE. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper are prohibited.

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