Modeling the vivid white color of the beetle Calothyrza margaritifera

Abstract : The elytra of the longhorn Calothyrza margaritifera exhibit bright white zones which appear, under SEM, to be composed of structures looking like long white hairs: flat cone-shaped rods of 100-200 mu m in length and a base of 10-20 mu m. Each hair is composed of an envelope of chitin or chitin and associated proteins, filled with small agglomerated spheres of the same material, of mean diameter 550 nm. The optical properties of this multiscale structure have been characterized: hemispherical reflectance spectra, bidirectional reflectance spectra, spatial scattering maps. A multiscale optical model, taking into account this complex structure has been developed for predicting the optical properties. Starting from the SEM image, the representative basic scattering structure is extracted, from the scale of the nanometer to the millimeter. By using the Mie theory and solving the Radiative Transfer Equation, the local optical properties of this structure are calculated. Thanks to a 3D modeler the basic structural element is then duplicated with small deviations in its shape, position and orientation for reproducing the overall SEM image. A photon-mapping is then implemented on this 3D structure with a spectral evaluation of illumination maps based on Monte-Carlo ray shooting. The first predictions of this multiscale model are in qualitative and almost quantitative agreement with the white color measured on the elytron of this insect and of its spatial dispersion. The brightness of the visual effect is explained by considerations about the human vision. (c) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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J. Lafait, Chantal Andraud, Serge Berthier, J. Boulenguez, P. Callet, et al.. Modeling the vivid white color of the beetle Calothyrza margaritifera. Materials Science and Engineering: B, Elsevier, 2010, 169 (1-3, SI), pp.16-22. ⟨10.1016/j.mseb.2009.12.026⟩. ⟨hal-01236805⟩

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