Scientists have developed a unique way to boost the power of LEDs by replicating the body of a firefly. By replicating the three-layerd structure of the firefly’s lantern, a team of scientists were able to produce an organic LED that is 60% brighter than an LED without this layer.
The team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology took a closer look at this fascinating bug and figure out how to apply it to LEDs. There was previous research done of the micro- and nanostructures in the covering the lantern organs to uncover how it help improve light transmission. The surface of the firefly is actually covered with a fine surface of tiles that reduce the difference between the refractive index of its body and the surrounding air allowing more light to be emitted.
As outlined in the journal Nano Letters, the group used these principles to create a lens inspired by the firefly to mount over an LED. By recreating this tile structure in a nano scale in a polymer resin, the team was able to actually increase the light produced without increasing the power supplied to the LED.
The practical application of this is monitors and screens that produce more light at lower power. For us LED heads in the aquarium hobby, we are hoping it can be applied to large scale lighting for our reef tanks.