Polarizing Natural Nanostructures

  • Kenneth Järrendahl
  • Hans Arwin
Part of the Springer Series in Surface Sciences book series (SSSUR, volume 52)


The first part of this chapter gives a brief description of the polarizing environment we are living in and the possibilities for some animals to detect this polarization. This is followed by a presentation of how animals and plants generate polarized light, usually through reflection from micro- and nanostructures. Special attention is made to scarab beetles reflecting light with a high degree of circular polarization. The use of Mueller matrix spectroscopic ellipsometry to obtain optical and structural properties of the beetle cuticle are demonstrated. Finally some comments on the biological aspects of polarization are made.


Polarization in nature Polarization vision Mueller matrix spectroscopic ellipsometry Degree of linear polarization Degree of circular polarization Scarab beetles 



Our own results presented in this chapter were obtained with the help of Jens Birch, Lia Fernández del Río, Johan Gidholm, Jan Landin, Roger Magnusson, Sergiy Valyukh and Christina Åkerlind from our department. We are also grateful for the fruitful collaboration with Arturo Mendoza-Galván and Eloy Muñoz-Pineda at Cinvestav Querétaro (Mexico), Razvigor Ossikovski and Enric Garcia-Caurel at Ecole Polytechnique Palaiseau (France) and their colleagues. The Swedish Research Council is acknowledged for financial support and Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation for support to instrumentation. We also want to acknowledge financial support from the Swedish Government Strategic Research Area in Materials Science on Functional Materials at Linköping University (Faculty Grant SFO-Mat-LiU # 2009-00971).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physics, Chemistry and BiologyLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden

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