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Fly Eyes Used For Solar Cells

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Posted by Malcom \"Mal\" Reynolds on July 30, 2010, 2:36 am

t takes a twisted engineering mind to come up with something this brilliant:
a biomimetic mold constructed from fly eyes. One particular type of fly eye
has just the right shape that could be perfect for manufacturing efficient
solar cells.

Lakhtakia and a team of Penn State researchers came up with a promising
solution. First they picked corneas from blowflies because this common type
of fly has ideal eyes for solar cell applications. According to a
description from PSU, "Blowflies have compound eyes that are roughly
hemispherical; but within that half sphere, the surface is covered by
macroscale hexagonal eyes with nanoscale features."

Then the researchers took corneas, fixed them on a glass substrate, added a
polymer to protect the shape and then coated nine-eye arrays in nickel
within a vacuum chamber. The result was a master template that retained
those useful nanoscale features. Ultimately that template can be used to
replicate the pattern exactly. Next, the plan is to make a larger template
from 30 blowfly corneas.

The findings were published in the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics
(abstract). Earlier this summer Lakhtakia and a group of Italian scientists
came up with a design (abstract) for special lenses based on fly eyes. "We
found that properly designed bioinspired compound lenses can significantly
improve the light-harvesting capabilities of silicon solar cells," they

Lakhtakia and his team are currently researching butterfly wings to figure
out how it might be possible to create colored surfaces without using
pigments. They might have reeled me in with the fly parts, but I'm not a big
fan of messing with butterflies. Besides, we need as many eyes as we can get
on improving solar tech.

Posted by Judge Crater on August 12, 2010, 12:35 am
On Jul 29, 10:36pm, "Malcom \"Mal\" Reynolds" <atlas-
bug...@invalid.invalid> wrote:

That statement is just plain bizarre.

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