Modeling Solar Cells on Butterflies
Sunlight is free – if we could just learn how to use it better. For decades, engineers have been trying to improve the efficiency of solar cells. Why not look at nature? Science Daily reported on work going on in China and Japan: “The discovery that butterfly wings have scales that act as tiny solar collectors has led scientists in China and Japan to design a more efficient solar cell that could be used for powering homes, businesses, and other applications in the future.”
Artificial solar cells struggle to attain 10% efficiency. The scientists are finding that butterfly wings not only collect light more efficiently, they are easier to work with. The fabrication process is simpler and faster than other methods, and could be used to manufacture other commercially valuable devices, the researchers say.
Don’t let Charlie take credit for these kinds of stories. Biomimetics has intelligent-design science written all over it.
For a feast of biomimetic wonders, see “The 15 Coolest Cases of Biomimicry” at BrainZ.org. Many of these examples have been reported in our pages.