Nature is full of its own cutting edge technology. A great new example is the Papilio paris species of butterfly discovered by researchers to have tiny solar collectors on their wings. The collectors trap heat from the sun and help keep the butterfly warm in colder weather.
Scientists at Shanghai Jiao Tong University are figuring out a way to copy the butterfly's collectors for use in dye-sensitized solar cells. The structure of the solar collectors is like a honeycomb, which helps to scatter and absorb sunlight. The scientists believe that replicating this structure will improve the efficiency of the dye-sensitized cells enough to compete with traditional photovoltaic cells.
Dye-sensitized cells could be turn out to be the hero of solar energy because they are inexpensive to make, can be used on many surfaces and can be used in both high heat and low light settings. The only drawback so far has been the decreased efficiency compared to photovoltaics. If you'd like to read more on how butterfly wings may solve this problem, click here.
written by Erasmus, February 15, 2009
written by martin blessing story, February 18, 2009
written by Miriam, June 16, 2009
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