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Physics Department Colloquia

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Event Number 4561

  Friday, March 2nd, 2018

Fay Ajzenberg-Selove colloquium
Organisms manipulate light with crystal mirrors Structural colors, photonic crystals and vision
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 2241 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Lia Addadi, Weizmann Institute of Science
Abstract: Organisms build complex optical devices including diffuse scatterers, broadband reflectors, tunable photonic crystals and mirrors by controlling the size, morphology and the hierarchical organization of the component organic crystals from the nanoscale to the millimeter level. These devices perform a variety of optical functions, generating the white color of certain spiders, the metallic silvery reflectance of fish scales, the brilliant iridescent colors of some copepods, and mirrors used for vision in animal eyes. Scallops have tens of eyes, each containing a concave multi-layered mirror, seamlessly tiled with a mosaic of square crystals, and bearing a striking resemblance to the segmented mirrors of reflecting telescopes. Shrimp, crayfish and lobsters possess compound eyes that also use reflective optics, and contain two sets of mirrors with very different architectures and functions. We can rationalize all the biogenic structures and superstructures in terms of the optical performance of the devices.
Host: Pupa Gilbert
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