DOE Pulse

Moth's eye may hold secret to enhancing solar energy



Solar energy is a tremendous force, but with most types of solar cells, about one-third of the energy is lost through reflection. A project under way at the Savannah River National Laboratory is studying how special coatings that mimic structures found in nature can increase the productivity of solar cells by reducing reflection.  

By mimicking the way a moth’s eye absorbs light, new nanostructured coatings can reduce unwanted reflection from 30 percent to less than 2 percent on a typical silicon solar cell. Working with Peng Jiang of the University of Florida, SRNL’s Dr. Marie Kane is evaluating these coatings to determine the readiness of this new approach for a variety of long-term uses, including commercial and home-based solar cells, as well as harsh environments, including heat, humidity, and the radiation encountered by satellites in space. This work is sponsored by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Nanomanufacturing Program, and funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

[Angeline  French, 803.725.2854,]