Biomimetics pp 879-910 | Cite as

Structural Coloration

  • Bharat BhushanEmail author
Part of the Springer Series in Materials Science book series (SSMATERIALS, volume 279)


In living nature, flora and fauna produce color through pigments, bioluminescence, or structural coloration. Biological pigments, or simply pigments, are substances produced by living organisms, which produce color resulting from selective light adsorption and reflection of a specific light wavelength. These include plant and flower pigments, such as green pigment chlorophyll used by plants for photosynthesis. Many biological structures contain pigments such as melanin in skin, eyes, fur, and hair. Bioluminescence is the production and emission of visible light by a living organism. It occurs widely in marine organisms, as well as in some fungi, bacteria, and terrestrial invertebrates, such as fireflies. Structural coloration is the production of color by selective light reflection by nanostructured surfaces with features of the same scale as incident visible light wavelengths. While pigments degrade and their colors fade over time, structural coloration can persist for long periods, even after the death of the organism.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nanoprobe Laboratory for Bio/Nanotechnology and Biomimetics (NLBB)The Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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