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Catching Thieves With Butterflies

The wings of Costa Rica’s beautiful blue morpho butterfly are so iridescent their shimmer can be spotted more than a half mile away. Yet they contain no pigments. Instead, they have nanostructures that reflect and refract wavelengths of light to produce the vivid blue hue.

Researchers at Canada’s Simon Fraser University have developed a printing method that produces nanoholes 1,500 times thinner than a human hair that can, like the morpho’s nanostructures, each trap a single light wave.

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