Transparent Butterfly Wings Inspire Eye Implants

Tiny clear nanostructures essential for technology

Image Credits: Alias 0591, Flickr.

Inspired by tiny nanostructures on transparent butterfly wings, engineers at Caltech have developed a synthetic analog for eye implants that makes them more effective and longer-lasting.

A paper about the research was published in Nature Nanotechnology.

Sections of the wings of a longtail glasswing butterfly are almost perfectly transparent. Three years ago, Caltech postdoctoral researcher Radwanul Hasan Siddique—at the time working on a dissertation involving a glasswing species at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany—discovered the reason why: the see-through sections of the wings are coated in tiny pillars, each about 100 nanometers in diameter and spaced about 150 nanometers apart.

Read more