Male peacock spiders (Maratus, Salticidae) compete to attract female mates using elaborate, sexually selected displays. They evolved both brilliant colour and velvety black. We found that super black regions reflect less than 0.5% of light in Maratus speciosus (0.44%) and Maratus karrie (0.35%) owing to microscale structures. Both species evolved unusually high, tightly packed cuticular bumps (microlens arrays), and M. karrie has an additional dense covering of black brush-like scales atop the cuticle. Super black locally eliminates white specular highlights, reference points used to calibrate colour perception, making nearby colours appear brighter, even luminous, to vertebrates
Simulations of anti-reflective (AR) properties: Using the Finite-Difference Time-Domain (FDTD) method reflection and transmission can be calculated for arbitrary surface geometries. In this project, the student will simulate the anti-reflective properties of structures similar to those responsible for superblack in peacock spiders.
Fabrication of AR surfaces: Using two-photon lithography a subset of the simulated structures will be fabricated.
Characterization of AR properties: Following fabrication, the AR properties should be characterized, e.g. using UV/VIS spectroscopy.
The project can be split up in two parts: (1) Simulations, (2) fabrication and characterization.
The successful project will result in a publication