This inch-long beetle from Brazil accomplished a task that so far has stymied human researchers. University of Utah chemists determined the beetle glows iridescent green because it evolved a crystal structure in its scales that is like the crystal structure of diamonds. Such a structure is considered an ideal architecture for "photonic crystals" that will be needed to manipulate visible light in ultrafast optical computers of the future. Credit: Jeremy Galusha, University of Utah Researchers have been unable to build an ideal “photonic crystal” to manipulate visible light, impeding the dream of ultrafast optical computers. But now, University of Utah chemists have discovered that nature already has designed photonic crystals with the ideal, diamond-like structure: They are found in the shimmering, iridescent green scales of a beetle from Brazil.
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