"We studied a novel photoanode structure inspired by butterfly wing scales with potential application on dye-sensitized solar cell in this paper. Quasi-honeycomb like structure (QHS), shallow concavities structure (SCS), and cross-ribbing structure (CRS) were synthesized onto a fluorine-doped tin-oxide-coated glass substrate using butterfly wings as biotemplates separately. ... Analysis of absorption spectra measurements under visible light wavelength indicates that the light-harvesting efficiencies of the QHS photoanode were higher than the normal titania photoanode without biotemplates ...."
The paper by researchers from the Shanghi Jiao Tong University reviews various ways of improving the efficiency of dye-sensitized solar cells. It describes different approaches to increasing the light harvesting efficiency of the titania photoelectrodes and presents research on microstructures inspired by butterfly wings which reduces surface reflections and increases the optical path length.
Two kinds of butterfly wings were used as templates to form micropatterned titania photoanodes. Optical and field-emission scanning electron microscope showed that the replicas retained the surface and internal structure of the butterfly scales.
The replica photoanodes showed significantly better absorption across a wide range of wavelengths, specifically for films based on butterfly scales with a quasi-honeycomb structure. However, the titania replica films were thicker and less dense than standard photoanodes, reducing the current density. An optimal balance between reduced current and improved absorption over a larger surface area will need to be determined.
Although a form of bio-utilization, research into the relationship between structure and optical properties may lead to improvements the efficiency of dye-sensitized solar cells, assuming that the microstructure can be created using other manufacturing methods.
Thanks to Structuur van vlindervleugels als voorbeeld voor zonnecellen for the pointer!