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26 March 2015 InxAl1-xN chiral nanorods mimicking the polarization features of scarab beetles
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The scarab beetle Cetonia aurata is known to reflect light with brilliant colors and a high degree of circular polarization. Both color and polarization effects originate from the beetles exoskeleton and have been attributed to a Bragg reflection of the incident light due to a twisted laminar structure. Our strategy for mimicking the optical properties of the Cetonia aurata was therefore to design and fabricate transparent, chiral films. A series of films with tailored transparent structures of helicoidal InxAl1-xN nanorods were grown on sapphire substrates using UHV magnetron sputtering. The value of x is tailored to gradually decrease from one side to the other in each nanorod normal to its growth direction. This introduces an in-plane anisotropy with different refractive indices in the direction of the gradient and perpendicular to it. By rotating the sample during film growth the in-plane optical axis will be rotated from bottom to top and thereby creating a chiral film. Based on Muellermatrix ellipsometry, optical modeling has been done suggesting that both the exoskeleton of Cetonia aurata and our artificial material can be modeled by an anisotropic film made up of a stack of thin layers, each one with its in-plane optical axis slightly rotated with respect to the previous layer. Simulations based on the optical modeling were used to investigate how pitch and thickness of the film together with the optical properties of the constitutive materials affects the width and spectral position of the Bragg reflection band.
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R. Magnusson, J. Birch, C.-L. Hsiao, P. Sandström, H. Arwin, and K. Järrendahl "InxAl1-xN chiral nanorods mimicking the polarization features of scarab beetles", Proc. SPIE 9429, Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2015, 94290A (26 March 2015);

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