Researchers from Boston College in Massachusetts, South China Normal, and University of Houston in Texas have copied natural scaffolding such as spider webs and leaf veins to create flexible, durable networks for optoelectronic applications such as photovoltaic devices and display screens. A network design inspired by the quasi-fractal vein-laced structure of a leaf served as an effective electrode for solar cells, light sources, and transparent heaters.A second network, drawing on spider webs, serves as an efficient way to draw light through an optoelectronic device. The network could find potential application in touch screens and display panels. In testing, both structures delivered a four-fold increase in electro-optical properties that are the benchmark figure of merit. In addition, the spider web design network can be stretched by up to 25 percent without any loss of performance and sees only a minimal decline when stretched up to 100 percent of its original size. In comparison, no other electrode network can be stretched more than 10 percent.
Source: Boston College