Optical Interference Coatings in Nature

Jennifer Turner-Valle

When most optikers think of optical interference filters, they think of man-made coatings for controlling light, such as anti-reflection coatings on camera lenses, polarizing beamsplitter cube coatings, and high reflectivity laser mirrors. However, long before humans began using coatings to control light, animals were already wearing brilliant iridescent colors produced by high reflectivity interference filters. In fact, iridescence can be seen in selected birds, fish, insects, mollusks, and even plants

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