Iridescent beetle coat acts like liquid crystal

Client: National Science Foundation

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Iridescent beetle coat acts like liquid crystal

Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta recently discovered jewel beetles change color because of the light-reflecting properties of the cells that make up their external skeletons, not because of unique, light-absorbing properties in their pigment. They say the finding could be important for industries such as car manufacturers that look to reflective light paints for automobiles.

The journal Science reports the finding in its July 24 issue. The National Science Foundation supports the research.

Credit: © Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation

Thanks so much for making such a great effort to do this illustration – it is just fantastic.

–Professor Mohan Srinivasarao
School of Polymer, Textile and Fiber Engineering, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Center for Advanced Research on Optical Microscopy (CAROM), Georgia Institute of Technology

Your illustration looks EXCELLENT; is easily my favorite part of the whole thing, and was crucial. I’m so grateful for your help & talent!.

–Lisa Raffensperger, National Science Foundation

It looks great. The rotating light is a very nice illustration of what’s happening.

–Charles M. Falco
Chair of Condensed Matter Physics, Professor: Optical Sciences; Physics, University of Arizona, Tucson

I think the jewel beetle art you did is absolutely stunning. I could not wait to use it in Science 360. It really has the wow factor. Maybe it’s the colors but I just love it.

–Diane Banegas, National Science Foundation