True colors: Using X-rays to trace the evolution of insects’ structural colors, Phys Org, 18 May 2020

Phys Org carried an article about the study of the evolution of insects’ structural colours. This was part of the work by researchers from Yale-NUS College and University College Cork (UCC), which found that the wing cases of the fossil weevils contained preserved photonic ‘diamonds’, one of the many types of crystal like nanoscopic structures that interacts with light to produce bright colours. The article reported that ultra-bright X-ray beams generated by the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility at the DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, was key to the study of complex 3-D nanostructures, and the research team used X-ray scattering techniques to probe the structures and combined those results with data gathered with electron microscopes and optical modelling. Assistant Professor of Sciences (Evolutionary Photonics and Ornithology) Vinod Kumar Saranathan, who is part of the team, said that the samples of modern beetle wings and those of the fossilised weevils were very similar, indicating that their colour has not changed for a long time.

The study was also carried in other science publications such as Science Codex, Eurek Alert, Archaeology News Network and Nanowerk.  

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