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Extracting Color From Black and White

Did you know that we see colors the way they are because surfaces only allow a certain light to be reflected?

 A butterfly's wing, for example, might appear blue because tiny grooves in the surface of the wing cause only blue light to be reflected.

But for colors black and white, this does not seem to be the case. If you see one of these two colors, then it’s most likely that the surface of the object you’re looking for has very disordered nanoscale structures which cause light to either be absorbed or reflected, which thus makes the object appear black or white.

A team of researchers led by the University of Birmingham has now found a way to control the way light passes through these disordered surfaces to produce vivid colours.
The team, which includes colleagues in Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany, and Nanjing University in China, has compared the method to techniques that artists have exploited for centuries. Among the most famous examples of this is the fourth-century Roman Lycurgus cup, made from glass that appears green when light shines on it from the front, but red when light shines through it from behind.

More details about this over at

(Image Credit: Kalahari/ Pixabay)

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