Many oceanic prey animals use transparent bodies to avoid detection. However, conspicuous eye pigments, required for vision, compromise the organisms' ability to remain unseen. We report the discovery of a reflector overlying the eye pigments in larval decapod crustaceans and show how it is tuned to render the organisms inconspicuous against the background. The ultracompact reflector is constructed from a photonic glass of crystalline isoxanthopterin nanospheres. The nanospheres' size and ordering are modulated to tune the reflectance from deep blue to yellow, enabling concealment in different habitats. The reflector may also function to enhance the acuity or sensitivity of the minute eyes by acting as an optical screen between photoreceptors. This multifunctional reflector offers inspiration for constructing tunable artificial photonic materials from biocompatible organic molecules.
|Number of pages||6|
|State||Published - 17 Feb 2023|
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