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Eureka!: Small Wonders

Like a Butterfly’s Wing

Photo: Douglas Levere

The brilliant blue of this polymer comes not from pigment but from its architecture. Look closely under a microscope and you’ll see a repeating, geometric structure that reflects blue light. It’s the same principle that gives color to the wings of butterflies. UB chemist Javid Rzayev studies the special bottlebrush-shaped molecules that make up this material.