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Butterfly Wings Have Solar Cells Inside: Inspiration for Scientists

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butterfly-solar-cellDid you know butterflies’ wings have properties similar to the solar cells’? This discovery led Chinese and Japanese scientists to design a more efficient solar cell.

The researchers studied the butterfly wings, using them as molds or templates. They made copies of the butterflies’ solar collectors, and transferred the light-harvesting structures to classic Grätzel (or dye-sensitized) cells. In fact, the new solar cells acted more efficiently in getting the solar power than the conventional dye-sensitized ones, that have about 10% efficiency. Even the manufacturing process is faster and simpler than previously thought.

The new butterfly-inspired solar cells could start a revolution in making those energy converters affordable to almost anyone, and the energy cheaper than ever.

Once again, nature is the source of inspiration for the scientists’ ideas. The airplane imitation of birds is another great example of simple, natural ingenuity. What’s to come next? There’s so much to learn about in nature…

update 13.02.09: more details here

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2 COMMENTS

  1. The study of insects has revealed a number of fascinating discoveries, a large number of which are playing critical roles in the fast growing development of nanotechnology. From optics to electric transfer, it seems the more closely we study nature the easier technology becomes to understand and perfect.

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