Oriental Hornet Capable of Converting Sun's Energy into Electric Power
January 7, 2011 6:50 PM
comment(s) - last by
(Source: Sciencedaily.com/Wikimedia Commons)
Could lead to the development of better solar cells
Tel Aviv University
scientists have found that Oriental hornets have similar capabilities as plants when it comes to the process of photosynthesis.
Professor David Bergman, a physicist and professor at Tel Aviv University's School of Physics and Astronomy, along with Professor Jacob Ishay, of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine, and Professor Marian Plotkin, a doctoral candidate, have studied
the Oriental hornet
and found that certain parts of its body are capable of converting the sun's energy into electric power much like plants do during photosynthesis.
Entomologists have recorded similar results when studying Oriental wasps. They found that the wasps were more active during the afternoon when the sun was at its highest point rather than the early morning when the sun was just rising, or at night. The same results were recorded for hornets, who were digging more energetically when the sun was up.
Several years ago, Bergman and his team discovered that the Oriental hornet's exoskeleton, or outer body shell, was capable of
harvesting solar energy
. Since this discovery, the researchers have tried to imitate this process by studying all the elements that could affect how this occurs. Humidity, temperature, solar radiation and other weather-related conditions were studied, and the results showed that UVB radiation solely caused the change in the hornet's behavior. The hornet's body also contains a heat pump system that keeps it cool despite absorbing the suns energy.
In addition, the researchers found that the yellow and brown stripes on the Oriental hornet's abdomen specifically allow a photo-voltaic effect, absorbing radiation while the yellow pigment converts it into electric power. The brown shell is made from grooves that split the light into separate beams, and the yellow is made from "pinhole depressions" holding a pigment called xanthopterin.
Researchers have tried to
imitate this process
in the lab, but had poor results. They could not reach the same efficiency rates of energy collection as the Oriental hornets. But they plan to continue improving their methods to mimic this process in order to better understand it and possibly create better solar cells based on the findings.
"The interesting thing here is that a living biological creature does a thing like that," said Bergman. "The hornet may have discovered things that we do not yet know."
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Er Bergman...
1/7/2011 11:58:18 PM
By its existence, this hornet is naturally selected for the current context. Darwin's theory cannot say anything beyond that. Maybe the photovoltaic trait is neutral, maybe it is beneficial, maybe is a hindrance? Who knows. But, maybe being different gives it a serious advantage over non-photovoltaic hornets? Regardless, I'm pro-solar-powered-animals.
RE: Er Bergman...
1/8/2011 1:45:57 AM
I think hornets should allot more resources to developing new generations of nuclear powered hornets.
RE: Er Bergman...
1/8/2011 12:37:04 PM
It is false to draw that conclusion. It could as easily be the case that the particular hornet was more dominant previously, before it had evolved this trait, that other insects mutating in different ways made the other insects, not the hornet, naturally selected.
We can look at activity levels when there is more sunlight, but what about contrasting activity levels of other hornets which may not slow down in activity so much when there isn't as much sunlight? We can't assume the trait even plays any role in natural selection without first establishing that this has any effect at all on their survival.
For example we could go to a hospital and look at a room full of people with severe birth defects and say "ah, it's natural selection", when in fact we are looking at a population that is less likely to survive (except our species cares for those less fortunate so my example is a poor one), that is not naturally selected.
"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
Self-Repairing Solar Cells Mimic Plant Processes in Nature
January 4, 2011, 3:23 PM
Hybrid Energy Harvesting Tool Uses Light/Heat to Produce Electricity
December 9, 2010, 1:30 PM
Star Wars Spinoff Film "Rogue One", Theme Park Attractions Announced
August 17, 2015, 12:20 PM
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Researchers Hope to Find "Exotic" Lifeforms Inside Crater of Dinosaur Killing Meteor
April 14, 2015, 8:47 PM
Mathematician's Sociological Formulation May Explain the "Hipster Paradox"
April 14, 2015, 1:13 PM
Most Popular Articles
Kentucky Man Faces up to 10 Years in Prison for Shooting Drone Trespasser
August 13, 2015, 2:58 PM
Microsoft's Windows 10 Leaves Lumia 530 Behind w/ 8 GB Storage Requirement
August 25, 2015, 4:02 PM
Best Buy Rapidly Ramps up Apple Watch Rollout After "Strong" Early Sales
August 26, 2015, 11:42 AM
Future of Lumia Uncertain as Microsoft Lays Off 2,300, Closes 1 of 3 Finnish Offices
August 24, 2015, 6:14 PM
Windows 10 Hits 75 Million Users; Grows Nearly 4x as Fast as Windows 7
August 28, 2015, 10:22 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information