Moths Have an Eye on Solar

Researchers are looking far and wide for ideas on improving the conductivity of solar cells. A team of researchers has apparently gotten their inspiration from the eyes of moths, which according to a press release from the Optical Society are covered with a water-repellent, antireflective coating that makes their eyes among the least reflective surfaces in nature, which helps them see well at night and helps them hide from predators in the dark. Mimicking the moth eye's microstructure, a team of researchers in Japan has created a new film, suitable for mass-production, for covering solar cells to cut down on the amount of reflected light and help capture more power from the sun.

“Surface reflections are an essential loss for any type of photovoltaic module, and ultimately low reflections are desired,” says Noboru Yamada, a scientist at Nagaoka University of Technology Japan, who led the research with colleagues at Mitsubishi Rayon Co. Ltd. and Tokyo Metropolitan University. “People may think this improvement is very small, but the efficiency of photovoltaics is just like fuel consumption rates of road vehicles. Every little bit helps.”

Seeing this press release brings to mind the cult horror film Mothra, the story of a giant moth that terrorizes Japan. The movie, which hit the theaters in 1961, somehow spawned a number of sequels. According to Wikipedia, Mothra (pictured here courtesy of Wikipedia) appeared in at least 16 sequels, often winning epic battles against Godzilla, a popular monster in Japanese horror films from that era.

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