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  (Source: psu.edu)

  (Source: psu.edu)

  (Source: psu.edu)
Their ideal shape can be used as a mold for viable biometric surfaces.

Blowflies could be used to advance the next generation of solar cells. Their eyes are fixed in a way that let's them see 270 degrees around them and allows them to effectively capture and process sunlight from a wider range.

Penn State researchers are utilizing the insect's unique properties, evolved over millions of years, to develop a replicable artificial structure. They believe that the tiny insect may be the key to easy manufacturing of biomimetic surfaces, surfaces that mimic the properties of biological tissues.

According to the Penn State website, Blowflies have compound eyes that are roughly hemispherical; but within that half sphere, the surface is covered by macroscale hexagonal eyes with nanoscale features.
  
"We needed an object large enough to manipulate that still had nanoscale features," Lead Researcher and Penn State professor,  Akhlesh Lakhtakia said.  "These eyes are perfect for making solar cells because they would collect more sunlight from a larger area rather than just light that falls directly on a flat surface." 
  
The Penn State engineering team took rows of blowfly corneas and coated them in nickel to develop a template that could be used to retain the shape of the eyes.  

They plan to expand their template to include 30 corneas, tile them together to create larger surfaces and replicate them.

A paper detailing their research, "Mass Fabrication Technique For Polymeric Replicas Of Arrays Of Insect Corneas" , can be found in the June edition of the journal Bioinspiration and Biomemetics.

The team of scientists have now focused their attention on using butterfly research to discover a way to create colors without using pigments.



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RE: So basically
By Smartless on 7/30/2010 3:51:05 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I prefer that idea to a bunch of fly-eyes on my roof. Creepy, gross, but a good idea. Let's just hope that in imitating nature, we don't go overboard like saying crickets noises are terrific replacements for cell phones or something.


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