Birds of Paradise
Birds of Paradise Ornament
iridescent thin film
AdvisorKoshel, Richard J.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThere are brightly colored birds spanning the globe. These fabulous animals get their colors from a variety of different sources. Some birds use pigments while others have specialized shapes and forms creating optical phenomena such as thin-films, and photonic crystals among others; within the cells of their feathers to reflect and refract light to create vibrant colors. The spectacular Bird-of-paradises’ feathers are just as incredible as the birds themselves. The male Parotia wahnesi Bird-of-paradise puts on an elaborate show to attract a mate, part of this show is flashing an iridescent ornament from under his chin called a breast ornament. To the female sitting on the branch above the male, it is a brilliant yellow, but when the ornament is flush against the bird, it reflects a variety of colors from purple to green. The colors from the ornament feather, can be modeled as a structured thin film using non-sequential optics software. The models tested were created from a digitized shape of a cell and barbule of the ornament feather. There is a combination of .05µm of melanin with a refractive index of n = 2+.01i and .128µm of keratin with a refractive index of n=1.5 in 31 alternating layers overlaid on the topography of the bottom of the barbule. The outer shell of the cell is created by a single 21µm layer of keratin. Together this created a vivid color pattern which closely matches measurements and observation in the real world. In contrast to the vivid Whanes’s Parotia, the white tip of a Mourning Dove flight feather is also examined. The feather, composed of keratin and air, lacking any organization as well as any recognizable outer structure.
Degree ProgramGraduate College