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Circular dichroism in biological photonic crystals and cubic chiral nets

, : Circular dichroism in biological photonic crystals and cubic chiral nets. Physical Review Letters 106(10): 103902-103902

Nature provides impressive examples of chiral photonic crystals, with the notable example of the cubic so-called srs network (the label for the chiral degree-three network modeled on SrSi2) or gyroid structure realized in wing scales of several butterfly species. By a circular polarization analysis of the band structure of such networks, we demonstrate strong circular dichroism effects: The butterfly srs microstructure, of cubic I4(1)32 symmetry, shows significant circular dichroism for blue to ultraviolet light, that warrants a search for biological receptors sensitive to circular polarization. A derived synthetic structure based on four like-handed silicon srs nets exhibits a large circular polarization stop band of a width exceeding 30%. These findings offer design principles for chiral photonic devices.


PMID: 21469792

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.106.103902

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