Monday, 16 Feb, 2009 Science

Scientists Study Butterfly Wings to Make Solar Cells More Efficient


Scientists say that the structures that disperse light, making the wings of butterflies so outstanding, could be used to develop cheaper and more efficient solar cells. It is worth mentioning that a solar cell (also called photovoltaic cell) is a tool that transforms solar energy into electricity through photovoltaic effect.

Within dye-sensitive solar cells a color covering on a titanium dioxide surface creates a so-called photoanode, which soaks up photons and draws off electrons.

In order to improve the efficiency of the solar cells, Di Zhang, a scientist of Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China together with his team decided to borrow the light-absorbing features of the wings of the Paris peacock butterfly, reports New Scientist.

Researchers soaked the samples of the butterfly's wing in a solution that included titanium. Afterwards they processed the wing to create a titanium dioxide deposit that replicated its honeycomb structure. After using this to create photoanode, scientists noticed that the efficiency of the cell was 10 percent higher than normal.

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