Newswise — COLUMBUS, Ohio, October 23, 2019 -- Nature has inspired innovative research throughout human history, and three scientists recently studied white beetles to understand the physics of light scattering. 

At the AVS 66th International Symposium and Exhibition in Columbus, Ohio, SeungHo Lee, Sang M. Han and S.E. Han will talk about their study of these scales to better understand thin “super-white” coatings that can reject solar spectrum and radiate through transparent windows. 

By studying light scattering at such a small scale, Lee, Han and Han were able to calculate light scattering in the biological structures faster and more accurately. 

Their research has diverse applications in heat management, energy conservation, building construction, ship manufacturing and space vehicle operation. 

“We are expecting that fundamental study of light scattering in white beetle scales will provide a deeper understanding of scattering physics as well as technological breakthroughs, such as solar heat management,” said Lee. 

Lee said it is hard to make the ideal "superwhite" coating that could reflect all the sunlight with current technologies. He said he and his team believe the white beetles scaled would give them guidance and direction to get the structure they would need to develop. 

Ideally, they are looking for something that could reflect the sunlight while retaining the ability to transfer heat freely from one side of the surface to the other. The scientists believe their work studying light scattering power and wavelength range make that structure theoretically possible. 

Lee, Han and Han are currently affiliated with the departments of chemical and biological engineering and electrical and computer engineering at the University of New Mexico. They have independently and cooperatively received numerous awards for their research, including the NSF Career Award, UNM Science and Technology Corporation Innovation Award and UNM School of Engineering Senior Teaching Excellence Award. 


Presentation: “Modeling of Optical Scattering in White Beetle Scales,” Seung Ho Lee, Sang M. Han and S.E. Han, University of New Mexico, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 5:40 p.m., Room A214 in the Greater Columbus Convention Center, Columbus, Ohio. 


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AVS is an interdisciplinary, professional society with some 4,500 members worldwide. Founded in 1953, AVS hosts local and international meetings, publishes five journals, serves members through awards, training and career services programs and supports networking among academic, industrial, government, and consulting professionals. Its members come from across the fields of chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, engineering and business and share a common interest in basic science, technology development and commercialization related to materials, interfaces, and processing. For more information about AVS, visit our website at