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Supplementary material from "Measurements of large optical rotary dispersion in the adipose eyelid of Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus)"

Posted on 2023-03-16 - 12:27
Collagen is the most prevalent of Nature’s structural proteins, and is found in the extracellular matrices of animals. The structures of collagen molecules and aggregates are chiral, which leads to the rotation of transmitted, plane-polarized light. Here, it is shown that the concentrations of chiral molecules and aggregates in the optically transparent, adipose eyelid of Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus) can be so high, that plane-polarized light in the visible spectrum is rotated by 10–100 s of degrees, depending on wavelength (the optical rotatory dispersion (ORD)). This gives rise to intensely coloured images of eyelid samples when illuminated with white light and viewed between crossed polarizers. The ORD in the visible spectrum is measured with monochromatic light sources, and using this dispersion, the variation of optical thickness within a sample (proportional to collagen concentration and path length) is determined. The agreement between observed and simulated white-light images is almost perfect. While collagen provides vital mechanical rigidity to animal tissue, it might also possess optical properties that are useful for vision and camouflage.

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