Scientists discovered an fascinating improvement for LED lighting this week with a little help from the natural world. Researchers from Belgium, France and Canada noticed that the bio-luminescence produced by fireflies (lampyridae insects) was enhanced due to the insect’s minute scales.
The scales, which measure in micrometers and resemble roof shingles, help to minimize the firefly’s internal light reflection by creating a variable surface for the light to pass through. The scientific team then developed a thin, laser-etched coating mimicking the firefly scales and applied it to LED wafers. With the improved surface coating the LED’s efficiency increased by as much as 55%!
Check out a detailed image of the firefly’s light enhancing scales here.