In a modern advance, the research team demonstrated a way of finely controlling this effect to produce extraordinarily precise colour reproduction.

The different colours in the image are represented in different thicknesses of a transparent material—such as glass—on a lithographic plate. On top of this, the researchers deposited the disordered layer—in this case made of random clusters of gold nanoparticles. Finally, beneath this layer, the team placed a mirrored to form a transparent cavity. The cavity is able to trap particles of light, or photons, inside. The photons behave like waves inside the cavity, resonating at different frequencies beneath the lithographic surface and releasing different colours according to the length of each wave.

By using this technique, the team was able to reproduce a Chinese water colour painting with exquisite colour accuracy.