|SV3 2000||Sydney VisLab|
The Seamouse is a marine worm with a segmented body, found in moderately deep water. Long, feltlike threads called setae which produce a brilliant iridescence, cover the entire dorsal surface. Sea mice commonly reach (15-20 cm) in length which is about the size of a mouse hence where they get their name.
The long felt like setae on the sea mouse have been found to have photonic crystal properties in the way they reflect and refract light. The delicate structure of the hair, 7 circles arranged in a hexagonal structure which repeat themselves periodically throughout the lattice which makes up the hair cell structure.
Photonic crystals are periodic structures composed of dielectric materials which exhibit band gaps- a range of frequencies in which electromagnetic waves cannot propagate, and other interesting spectral behaviour. Our visualisation project was to make a visualisation of how the electric field varied with changing wavelength for this photonic structure. The Seamouse hair is a naturally occurring dielectric medium whose photonic crystal properties have not previously been investigated. Photonic crystals are usually synthesized as a high level of accuracy is required in the structure. The uniqueness of the sea mouse is that it is a naturally occurring phenomenon of such exact intricacy, indeed, nature's finest photonic crystal.