Eureka Alert: This nanometre-thin material will enable future applications such as smart wallpaper that could generate electricity from waste light or heat, and power a host of applications within the growing internet of things. via University of Surrey
'Using a technique known as nanotexturing, which involves growing graphene around a textured metallic surface, researchers from the University of Surrey's Advanced Technology Institute took inspiration from nature to create ultra-thin graphene sheets designed to more effectively capture light. Just one atom thick, graphene is very strong but traditionally inefficient at light absorption. To combat this, the team used the nano-patterning to localise light into the narrow spaces between the textured surface, enhancing the amount of light absorbed by the material by about 90%.
'"Nature has evolved simple yet powerful adaptations, from which we have taken inspiration in order to answer challenges of future technologies," explained Professor Ravi Silva, Head of the Advanced Technology Institute.
'"Moths' eyes have microscopic patterning that allows them to see in the dimmest conditions. These work by channelling light towards the middle of the eye, with the added benefit of eliminating reflections, which would otherwise alert predators of their location. We have used the same technique to make an amazingly thin, efficient, light-absorbent material by patterning graphene in a similar fashion."
'The Surrey team developed this technology in cooperation with BAE Systems for infrared imaging in opto-MEMs devices.'