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article imageScience explains why blue and green colors are so bright

By Tim Sandle     Sep 15, 2020 in Science
Throughout the natural world the colors of blue and green are typically the brightest and most intense, as well as symbolizing the wonder of nature. Why is this? Computational biology provides an answer.
University of Cambridge scientists have outlined why blues and greens are brightest colors in nature, through the application of computational modelling. This approach to analysis applies a mathematical model using computational resources in order to study the behavior of a complex system by computer simulation. Drawing on a topical example, computational models are being used to track infectious diseases, such as rates of coronavirus infection, in different populations.
The model was applied to a numerical experiment that assessed the ranges of matt structural color. This is a phenomenon that leads to the creation of the most intense colours in nature. The model showed how this intensity effect extends only as far as blue and green within the visible spectrum. Notably, matt structural colours cannot be recreated in the red region of the visible spectrum.
A structural color is formed from the disordered array of structures in a way that results in angle-independent matt colors, which means that the colors look the same from any viewing angle.
The basis of structural colour, the researchers found, is not the result of pigments or dyes (such as with the glossy yellow of the buttercup, which is achieved through a yellow carotenoid pigment). In contrast, the coloration, which is seen on the wings of birds and butterflies as example, is the result of internal structure alone. How a color is manifested, is the outcome of the way that structures are arranged at the nanoscale (triggered through the reflection of light from complex nanostructures).
It is hoped that the data will prove useful with the development of non-toxic paints or coatings with intense colour that never fades.
The study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, with the research paper titled "The limitations of extending nature’s color palette in correlated, disordered systems."
More about Blue, Green, Color, intensity, Nature
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