Why is the bird of paradise so magical? Because they are really black!
Why is the bird of paradise so magical? Because they are really black!
Only when it is really black, can it become the most dazzling meme (wrong)

this male magnificent bird of paradise, which has turned itself into an emoji, is no stranger to everyone:

Why is it so magical? Maybe it's because of the coquettish dance steps, maybe it's because the gorgeous sky blue looks like a funny face, and there's another important reason: its black feathers are too black.

from the front, the black feathers used by the bird of paradise for display are black to the bottom, black to no detail, as if to engulf all the light, so dark that the outline of the whole bird's head can not be seen at all, leaving only the bright blue beating.

and a recent study has also proved that crows are nothing in this respect, and the black of birds of paradise is really black. The researchers examined the ultra-black feathers of five species of birds of paradise and found that they had a surprisingly low reflectivity to light compared to other birds with black feathers: only 0.05-0.31% of the incident light was reflected back. This extremely low light reflectivity creates the glossy, bottomless black of birds of paradise.

A contrast picture, ordinary black feather vs super black feather. Although the bird on the left is also black, it reflects more light and can see the luster and texture of the feathers.

such excellent light absorption capacity is not only reminiscent of the man-made extremely black material Vantablack, which absorbs 99.965% of visible light, compared with the feathers of birds of paradise.

Why can it be so dark? By analyzing museum specimens, the researchers found that unlike ordinary black feathers, birds of paradise use unique microstructure to absorb light. In ordinary feathers, the small branches and feathers are on the same plane (left), but these small structures stand up in the super-black feathers, and there are more subtle protrusions on them (right).

these erect structures "trap" the light, allowing it to scatter constantly and gradually be consumed and absorbed by the material. In fact, Vantablack is designed in the same way, except that its microstructure is an array of carbon nanotubes perpendicular to the plane.

the brightly colored feathers and strange dancing of male birds of paradise are the result of sexual selection, and the researchers believe that extremely black feathers have evolved in this way: on an extremely dark background, the colored feathers will be highlighted, thus winning the favor of females. In the gorgeous bird of paradise, the part that is not used for courtship display is the black feather of the ordinary structure, which does not look as black as the display area (which can be seen when the original motion picture is turned to the side), which also suggests that the super black feather is related to the visual effect of the display.

in view of the fact that extremely black materials that are very good at absorbing light have important potential applications in optics and so on, engineers will probably come to learn from birds of paradise.

finally, put a large picture of black to lose details _ (: dark "∠) _

Source: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/01/super-black-is-the-new-black/549869/

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