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Keeping cool: Enhanced optical reflection and radiative heat dissipation in Saharan silver ants

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Science  17 Jul 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6245, pp. 298-301
DOI: 10.1126/science.aab3564
  • Fig. 1 The bright glare of the silver ant and its structural basis.

    (A) Silver ant offloading heat on top of dry vegetation (18). (B) SEM frontal view of the head densely covered by hairs. (C) SEM image of the hairs gradually tapering off toward the tip. (D) Cross-sectional view of the hairs milled with FIB. (E) SEM image of two hairs with one flipped upside down to exhibit the flat bottom facet.

  • Fig. 2 Reflectivity of the silver ant’s body surface from the visible to the MIR range of the spectrum.

    (A) Hemispherical reflectivity measured in the visible and NIR. (B) Measurement and simulation results showing visible and NIR reflectivity as a function of incidence angle. (C) Cross-sectional view of a two-dimensional distribution of a light field (magnitude of electric field component of light, or |E|) around a triangular hair for three exemplary Mie resonances. (D) Schematic diagram showing the interaction between visible and NIR light and a hair at small (I), intermediate (II), and large (III) incidence angles. The corrugated upper two facets may enhance diffuse reflection in the ultraviolet and visible ranges. (E) Reflectivity measured in the MIR at normal incidence. (F) Simulated MIR reflectivity as a function of incidence angle.

  • Fig. 3 Results of thermodynamic experiments.

    (A) Thermal camera images showing the head of an ant specimen at the thermal steady state under different conditions. Temporal temperature profiles measured for the head before and after hair removal in vacuum (B) and in still air (C) are shown. (D to F) Results obtained for the hind part (gaster) of an ant specimen. Insets in (B) and (E) are photos of specimens before and after hair removal. In the “hairs intact” pictures of head and gaster, because of the limited solid angle of illumination, the silvery glance is not shown all over the body surface portrayed in the figures.

  • Keeping cool: Enhanced optical reflection and heat dissipation in silver ants

    Norman Nan Shi, Cheng-Chia Tsai, Fernando Camino, Gary D. Bernard, Nanfang Yu, Rüdiger Wehner

    Materials/Methods, Supplementary Text, Tables, Figures, and/or References

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    • Materials and Methods
    • Supplementary Text
    • Figs. S1 to S11
    • References (19–29)
    • Caption for Movie S1

    Images, Video, and Other Other Media

    Movie S1
    Video segment (41 seconds) taken during the drying cycle of the wetting and drying experiment. The timestamp corresponds to the amount of time since drying process started.

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