The alternation of chitin layers with various compounds allows nature to create novel materials with selective refractive properties. Various organisms employ layered materials for survival; for example, in butterflies such materials cause the apparent disappearance and reappearance during flight to evade predators. The selective light refraction is achieved through control of the thickness and index of refraction of the multiple layers. With the ultimate goal of reproducing these layers, thin single films of chitosan, the soluble form of chitin, and poly(allyl amine) have been prepared and their optical properties analyzed. Ellipsometry, reflectance IR, reflectance spectroscopy, SEM and software modeling were used to characterize these films. Possible applications for optical layered materials range from medical diagnostics to environmental monitoring.