Image of the Day: Solar Butterfly

The wings of black butterflies are inspiring the design of new solar-cell technology.

The Scientist Staff and The Scientist Staff
Oct 27, 2017

Scanning electron microscope image of nanoholes in the wings of the black butterfly Pachliopta aristolochiaeRADWANUL HASAN SIDDIQUE, KARLSRUHE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY / CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGYThe wings of the black butterfly, Pachliopta aristolochiae, are covered in microscopic scales that are particularly adept at harvesting sunlight over a wide spectral range. Scientists used these as a template for designing photovoltaic absorbers, showing that they have potential to increase the functionality of thin-film solar cells.

See R.H. Siddique et al., “Bioinspired phase-separated disordered nanostructures for thin photovoltaic absorbers,” Science Advances, doi:10.1126/1700232, 2017.