How Butterflies May Help Crack Down On Counterfeit Money
Butterflies are beautiful creatures. Their wings alone can be breathtaking and even hypnotic. Scientists have been long at work learning all that can be learned about butterfly wings. Butterfly wings are unique, the colors and designs in butterfly wings create an optical illusion. Researchers believe that if money were printed to create the same illusions that butterfly wings create, the production and circulation of counterfeit money would decrease dramatically.
According to Mathias Kolle of the University of Cambridge, tropical butterflies possess shiny green patches on their wings. When viewing these wings with the naked eye, the dots appear green, but when viewed with special optical equipment the dots are clearly blue. Researchers have long known that the colors on butterfly wings were changeable, but researchers have always been stumped as to how butterfly wings undergo this change. The changes in color have nothing to do with changing pigments; instead the colors on butterfly wings appear to change because of the way in which light bounces off tiny structures located on the wings.
In order to learn more about this butterfly ability, Kolle and his colleagues experimented with an Indonesian peacock. This peacock has wings that are made of tiny intricate structures, similar to the butterfly. It turns out that the shape of the small structures and the cuticle surrounding the structures causes the reflecting light to produce colors that change when viewing the wings from other angles.
The team then used artificial materials in order to recreate surfaces that resembled the peacock and butterfly wings. These surfaces also produced the vivid and changing colors. Now the researchers are convinced that these surfaces can be recreated on paper money. Information can be encrypted on banknotes in order to confirm authenticity and avoid forgery.
Have you ever seen anything interesting when observing a butterflies’ wings?