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Bioinspired phase-separated disordered nanostructures for thin photovoltaic absorbers

Siddique, Radwanul H. and Donie, Yidenekachew J. and Gomard, Guillaume and Yalamanchili, Sisir and Merdzhanova, Tsvetelina and Lemmer, Uli and Hölscher, Hendrik (2017) Bioinspired phase-separated disordered nanostructures for thin photovoltaic absorbers. Science Advances, 3 (10). Art. No. e1700232. ISSN 2375-2548. PMCID PMC5648565. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1700232.

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The wings of the black butterfly, Pachliopta aristolochiae, are covered by micro- and nanostructured scales that harvest sunlight over a wide spectral and angular range. Considering that these properties are particularly attractive for photovoltaic applications, we analyze the contribution of these micro- and nanostructures, focusing on the structural disorder observed in the wing scales. In addition to microspectroscopy experiments, we conduct three-dimensional optical simulations of the exact scale structure. On the basis of these results, we design nanostructured thin photovoltaic absorbers of disordered nanoholes, which combine efficient light in-coupling and light-trapping properties together with a high angular robustness. Finally, inspired by the phase separation mechanism of self-assembled biophotonic nanostructures, we fabricate these bioinspired absorbers using a scalable, self-assembly patterning technique based on the phase separation of binary polymer mixture. The nanopatterned absorbers achieve a relative integrated absorption increase of 90% at a normal incident angle of light to as high as 200% at large incident angles, demonstrating the potential of black butterfly structures for light-harvesting purposes in thin-film solar cells.

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URLURL TypeDescription Materials CentralArticle
Siddique, Radwanul H.0000-0001-7494-5857
Donie, Yidenekachew J.0000-0003-1204-1427
Lemmer, Uli0000-0001-9892-329X
Additional Information:© 2017 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC). Submitted 22 January 2017; Accepted 22 September 2017; Published 20 October 2017. We thank A. Gerstner (Stadtpark Mannheim GmbH) for supplying the P. aristolochiae butterfly sample and P. Abaffy [Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)], C. Bartels (University of Heidelberg), and I. Wacker (University of Heidelberg) for performing the surface and cross-sectional imaging of the butterfly scales with SEM. Furthermore, we are indebted to S. Vignolini (University of Cambridge) for allowing us to use their microspectroscopy setup. We also acknowledge fruitful discussions with all members of the Biomimetics group at the Institute of Microstructure Technology (KIT). Last, we acknowledge support from the state of Baden-Württemberg through bwHPC. Funding: R.H.S. acknowledges funding by the Karlsruhe House of Young Scientists for a research stay at the University of Cambridge. G.G. acknowledges funding by the Helmholtz Postdoctoral Program. This work was supported, in part, by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) through program DFG-SPP 1839 “Tailored Disorder,” the Karlsruhe School of Optics and Photonics (KSOP;, and the Karlsruhe Nano Micro Facility (KNMF;, a Helmholtz Research Infrastructure at KIT ( Author contributions: R.H.S., G.G., and H.H. conceived the study. R.H.S., Y.J.D., and G.G. designed the analyses. R.H.S. conducted the microscopy and spectroscopy of the black butterfly. Y.J.D. conducted the simulations and numerical analysis. R.H.S., Y.J.D., T.M., and G.G. fabricated and characterized the samples. R.H.S., Y.J.D., G.G., and S.Y. performed the optical characterization. H.H. and U.L. supervised the project. R.H.S., G.G., and H.H. wrote the initial manuscript. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript. Competing interests: The authors declare that they have no competing interests. Data and materials availability: All data needed to evaluate the conclusions in the paper are present in the paper and/or the Supplementary Materials. Additional data related to this paper may be requested from the authors.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
State of Baden-WürttembergUNSPECIFIED
University of CambridgeUNSPECIFIED
Helmholtz Postdoctoral ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)SPP 1839
Karlsruhe Institute of TechnologyUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:10
PubMed Central ID:PMC5648565
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171023-082039904
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Official Citation:Bioinspired phase-separated disordered nanostructures for thin photovoltaic absorbers BY RADWANUL H. SIDDIQUE, YIDENEKACHEW J. DONIE, GUILLAUME GOMARD, SISIR YALAMANCHILI, TSVETELINA MERDZHANOVA, ULI LEMMER, HENDRIK HÖLSCHER SCIENCE ADVANCES 19 OCT 2017 : E1700232
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:82567
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:23 Oct 2017 15:42
Last Modified:22 Mar 2022 17:54

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