Stability and selective vapor sensing of structurally colored lepidopteran wings under humid conditions

Research output: Letter


Biological photonic nanoarchitectures are capable of rapidly and chemically selectively sensing volatile organic compounds due to changing color when exposed to such vapors. Here, stability and the vapor sensing properties of butterfly and moth wings were investigated by optical spectroscopy in the presence of water vapor. It was shown that repeated 30 s vapor exposures over 50 min did not change the resulting optical response signal in a time-dependent manner, and after 5-min exposures the sensor preserved its initial properties. Time-dependent response signals were shown to be species-specific, and by using five test substances they were also shown to be substance-specific. The latter was also evaluated using principal component analysis, which showed that the time-dependent optical responses can be used for real-time analysis of the vapors. It was demonstrated that the capability to detect volatile organic compounds was preserved in the presence of water vapor: high-intensity color change signals with short response times were measured in 25% relative humidity, similar to the one-component case; therefore, our results can contribute to the development of biological photonic nanoarchitecture-based vapor detectors for real-world applications, like living and working environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3258
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - jún. 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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