Image of the Day: Solar Butterfly

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

Oct 27, 2017
The Scientist Staff

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.