" All the ways of making an eye that physicists have thought of have been thought of by evolution in in rather interesting ways I mean the comp the compound eye works and it could have totally different way from the camera eye which is what which is what we have there are molluscs which have a reflector eye a parabolic reflector you mean like a radio dish out there yes yeah ".
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New research published this week in Science (and described in the New York Times ) demonstrates that the concave mirror of each scallop eye is tiled with more than 100,000 square mirror tiles. Did you get that? They are squares! Outside of the human built environment, right angles are scarce. So to find squares in the eyes of scallops is remarkable. The properties of the tiles making up the mirror has implications for the scallop’s ability to see in the particular wavelengths of light in its surroundings and can inspire improved human optical devices. 1
The scallop sees its world with hundreds of eyes. Arrayed across the opening of its shell, the eyes glitter like an underwater necklace. Each sits at the tip of its own tentacle and can be extended beyond the rim of the shell. 2 Now, a team of Israeli researchers has gotten a look at the hidden sophistication of the scallop eye, thanks to powerful new microscopes. On Thursday, they reported in the journal Science that each eye contains a miniature mirror made up of millions of square tiles.
Light can also be focused using arrays of mirrors, as is commonly done in telescopes. A biological example of this is the scallop, which can have up to 200 reflecting eyes that focus light onto two retinas. spatial vision in the scallop is achieved through precise control of the size, shape, and packing density of the tiles of guanine that together make up an image-forming mirror at the back of each of the eyes.
Although multilayered retinas have infrequently been observed in other animals, in these cases, they are used to enhance light sensitivity or act as spectral filters. In contrast, in the scallop, the upper and lower parts of the retina seem to be specialized for discriminating different fields of view. Thus, at the highest hierarchical level of organization, the complex 3D shape of the scallop eye mirror appears to be controlled to focus light from a broad field of view onto two retinas placed at different heights above its surface.
How Is the Scallop Eye Constructed? Unlike other eyes in the animal kingdom, the scallop’s visual system uses mirrors in addition to a weakly refracting lens. The light path passes through a cornea, then an iris, then a lens, then through crystals of guanine stacked like tiles. The crystals form a biological concave mirror that reflects the light back through the system and onto a unique two-layered retina. 4
Understanding the strategies that organisms use to control crystal morphology and arrangement for complex optical functions paves the way for the construction of novel bio-inspired optical devices. In particular, the resemblance of the scallop’s tiled, off-axis mirror to the segmented mirrors of reflecting telescopes provides inspiration for the development of compact, wide-field imaging devices derived from this unusual form of biological optics.