May 18, 2017

Scientists at the Australian National University (ANU), which only last month reported a new world record in the development of perovskite-based solar cells (26% efficiency in converting sunlight into energy), have now announced a new achievement in making perovskite solar cells. Interestingly, this was done by learning from the blue Morpho Didius butterfly how to direct different colors of light.

ANU team relies on butterfly to enhance perovskite PV image

The ANU team developed structures similar to the butterfly’s tiny cone-shaped nanostructures that scatter light. These allow them to finely control the direction of light in experiments, which the scientists say can be very useful in next-generation solar cells, such as tandem solar cells with a perovskite and a silicon layer. In such tandem cells, the perovskite layers are meant to absorb the blue, green and ultraviolet colors of sunlight and leave the red, orange and yellow light to the silicon layer.

“These intricate nanostructures grow and assemble themselves - it's not by precise control with a tiny laser or electrons,” the researchers said, adding that the process is very scalable and did not require expensive technology.