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Optical Material Discovered In Mantis Shrimp's Secret Language

First Posted: Feb 17, 2016 02:13 PM EST

Mantis shrimp are very private with their conversations, which is why they communicate through the polarization of light. This method has enabled researchers to develop a new technique to create a polarizer, an optical device that is commonly used in sunglasses, cameras and DVD players. In the latest study, researchers at the University of Bristol were curious about how mantis shrimps produce these light signals.

"When it comes to developing a new way to make polarizers, nature has come up with optical solutions we haven't yet thought of," Dr. Nicholas Roberts, coauthor of the study, said in a news release.

The team found the mantis shrimp polarizers work by manipulating light across the structure rather than through its depth, which is how most polarizers work. The researchers noted that this photonic mechanism enables the creature with "small, microscopically thin and dynamic optical structures" to generate bright, massive and colorful polarized signals.

"Industries working on optical technologies will be interested in this new solution mantis shrimp have found to create a polarizer as new ways for humans to use and control light are developed," Roberts said.

The findings of this study were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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