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Bio-inspired Optics for invisible Solar Technologies: Ordered vs. Disordered patterns.

#esiStateOfTheArt talk by Featured ESI Academic of the month: Dr Katie Shanks

Nature has been manipulating and absorbing light energy over billions of years. Biomimicry of the unique nano-structures found within leaves, moth eyes and butterfly wings are attractive routes to enhancing solar technologies. Allowing for more compact, customised solar panels that can integrate more efficiently and aesthetically into buildings, vehicles and surrounding infrastructures. This is a significant step to expanding low carbon technologies towards the UK’s net zero targets and the interdisciplinary content invites unique discussions with artists and the public on the topic of energy and sustainability. Nature has however very complex patterns ranging from orderly lines to chaotic peaks, all affecting the direction and efficiency of light incident upon the material. Here I will present the key challenges and advantages facing advanced solar energy technologies, the solutions found within nature and the importance of “disordered” structures.

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