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Firefly 'Nanotechnology' Inspires Better LEDs

Posted November 05, 2012 12:12 PM

From DVICE:

When you are looking at better ways to make something glow, what better place to look than one of nature's signature glowing critters, the firefly? Scientists in South Korea have studied the nanostructure of the firefly's glowing belly to create a more efficient lens for LEDs that allows up to 98 percent more light to pass through.

Using an electron microscope, Ki-Hun Jeong of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science examined the firefly's exoskeleton. They found the insect's glowing abdomen or "lantern" was divided into three parts, similar to how LED bulbs are constructed - a reflective cup and a lens sandwiching the light source. Firefly's lanterns have a similar reflective layer, a light emitting layer and a cuticle or outer shell.

The key difference between current LEDs and the fireflies was the scientists found the firefly to have ordered ridges on that outer shell or exoskeleton that surrounded the lighted parts of the abdomen. These ridges allow the light wavelength to pass through the firefly lanterns more effectively.

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