Butterfly wings inspire a better way to absorb light in solar panels, The Verge, 19 October 2017

The Verge carried an article on how the black wings of the rose butterfly, a species native to Southeast Asia, have inspired a new type of solar cell that can harvest light twice as efficiently as before and could improve solar panels in the future. As the rose butterfly is cold-blooded and requires sunlight to fly, its wings have evolved to be very good at absorbing energy. Scientists have studied its wing structures to create thin solar cells that are much lighter in weight and are more efficient in absorbing light energy regardless of the angle that they are positioned. Yale-NUS Assistant Professor of Science Vinod Saranathan said that these butterflies, which had evolved their complex wing structures as a result of selection over millions of years, were still outperforming current engineering efforts. The article noted that Dr Saranathan was not involved in this study.

 

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