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Keywords:

  • amorphous materials;
  • biogenic guanine crystals;
  • photonic crystals;
  • structural colors;
  • X-ray diffraction
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Starting from disorder: Anhydrous guanine crystals compose the photonic arrays responsible for the skin and scale iridescence found in Japanese Koi fish. These guanine crystals were found to form in intracellular vesicles (see picture) through an amorphous precursor phase. A combined cryo-SEM and synchrotron radiation X-ray diffraction study showed the evolution of the crystals in great detail.