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Butterfly Wing and Thin Film Solar Cell

11/15/2017 10:18 AM

butterfly wing hole pattern may be the ultimate absorber of light

The link mentions that by increasing drastically the absorption of light by thin film solar cells, the produced power goes up (not necessarily linearly, but does increase usefully).

It was found that nano-pores arranged randomly produce this characteristic.

Could it be that arrangements of layers of band-selective materials with such hole patterns might increase the power of multi-layer thin film photovoltaic materials?

In other words, can this "black" effect be tuned to advantage?

Image: Image credit: Radwanul H. Siddique, KIT/Caltech

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#1

Re: Butterfly Wing and Thin Film Solar Cell

11/15/2017 10:56 AM

Mother nature is a few million years ahead of us in technology...

It would be interesting to see how well these solar cells age (stand up to dust, moisture, etc).

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#4
In reply to #1

Re: Butterfly Wing and Thin Film Solar Cell

11/15/2017 12:30 PM

Presumably, there would need to be an AR coating on a flat layer above??? Or someone better get started on the research of how a butterfly cleans its wings.

Butterflies live about how long?

Eastern Black Swallowtail (not the butterfly in the earlier link, and not totally black as you can clearly see), lives on average about 2-3 generations in the summer. The Pupae overwinter. All else I could find was about 2 weeks. Monarchs may live about 1 year and no longer.

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#2

Re: Butterfly Wing and Thin Film Solar Cell

11/15/2017 11:43 AM

Yes the butterfly effect...I've heard of it...

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#3
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Re: Butterfly Wing and Thin Film Solar Cell

11/15/2017 12:24 PM

We were not talking about the Lorentz equation, strange attractors (odd), or chaos theory, or the Logistic iteration.

. We were talking about sunshine , and the ability to absorb it. Does this factor in somehow? Perhaps it could in designing better absorbers???

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#5
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Re: Butterfly Wing and Thin Film Solar Cell

11/15/2017 1:56 PM

Yes the optofluidic fresnel lens combo....

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#6
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Re: Butterfly Wing and Thin Film Solar Cell

11/15/2017 2:05 PM

Now you went and said another set of those high dollar engineering style words.

I just love it when you get all graphic like that.

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#7
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Re: Butterfly Wing and Thin Film Solar Cell

11/15/2017 3:15 PM

Enhanced version....

"Ion gel as a high-capacitance dielectric for low-cost and low-voltage electrowetting applications. The ion gel offers a 2 to 3 order higher capacitance (c ≈ 10 μF/cm2) than that of conventional dielectrics such as SiO2 and Al2O3, while being fabricated through a simple low-cost spin- or dip-coating process. Such an extremely high capacitance results from the nanometer-thick electric double layer (EDL) capacitor formed by the compact accumulation of free counter-ions at the interface under an applied electric field. Thus, the capacitance of the ion gel layer is thickness-independent."

"A schematic of the liquid prism filled with two immiscible liquids. Four prism sidewalls are assembled and dip-coated with a dielectric (ion gel) and a hydrophobic layer. An electrowetting effect adjusts the prism apex angle φ by applying bias voltages to the left and right sidewalls, separately. Due to the refractive index difference (nairn1n2) of each medium, incoming light is effectively steered without any bulky mechanical moving components."

http://blog.nus.edu.sg/ofes/research/

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#8
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Re: Butterfly Wing and Thin Film Solar Cell

11/15/2017 3:48 PM

I had to go to the link to figure out that last figure. That apparently has to do with droplet manipulation

(i.e. - taking micro-fluidic forces to bear in preparing micro-droplets out of a stream for biological sampling or the like.)

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#9
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Re: Butterfly Wing and Thin Film Solar Cell

11/15/2017 4:35 PM

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#10

Re: Butterfly Wing and Thin Film Solar Cell

11/15/2017 6:39 PM

People always act as if this is some magical new discovery.

The laws for Fresnel surface reflectance have been know for a really long time. Ditto the laws of constructive and destructive interference of waves.

The typical reflectance loss from a surface is around 4%. An antireflection (AR) coating can reduce this to less than 0.2%, but the added cost of the coating has to be weighed against the miniscule 3 to 4% gain in power. And this presumes that the solar cell surface remains pristine clean. A fine layer of grime could result in the AR coated panel having less power output than an uncoated panel.

And this all has to be weighed against the environmental impact of solar panels, which is significant. (Don't get me wrong; in the proper location solar panels are fantastic.)

Butterflies are free.

Solar panels aren't.

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Butterfly Wing and Thin Film Solar Cell

11/16/2017 12:05 PM

I suppose we will have to have disposable and recyclable solar panels then, to make everyone happy, just wad the thing up when done, and put it in the dust bin, and move on.

OR, we could come up with something entirely new, such as a way to clean these surfaces using something like plasma state (not really hot plasma, but definitely a glowing ionic gas), such as has been used with delicate optics in the past. Oh, snap, then it wouldn't be new at all, now would it?

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#12
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Re: Butterfly Wing and Thin Film Solar Cell

11/16/2017 1:01 PM

No problem, that's why we have robots....solar powered robots

haha...all we need here is a cat supervisor....

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#13
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Re: Butterfly Wing and Thin Film Solar Cell

11/16/2017 1:52 PM

Gosh, people think of everything these days! It is the mother time of invention!

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