Moth eyes may hold key to more efficient solar cells

A team led by Peng Jiang of the University of Florida are adapting the structure of moth eyes to increase the efficiency of solar cells.  Existing anti-reflective coatings are only effective within a narrow range of frequencies, making solar cells most efficient at only a part of the solar spectrum.  The anti-reflective coatings are also expensive to produce.

The corneas of moth eyes are covered with a regular array of bumps, likely as a 'stealth' defense against predators.  Jiang has developed a method using self-assembly to create similar bumps on silicon wafers.  In addition to being inexpensive, reflection is reduced to about 2%. Jiang is planning a start-up to commercialize the process.

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