As every middle-school child knows, in the process of photosynthesis, plants take the sun’s energy and convert it to electrical energy. Now a Tel Aviv University team has demonstrated how a member of the animal kingdom, the Oriental hornet, takes the sun’s energy and converts it into electric power — in the brown and yellow parts of its body — as well.
“The interesting thing here is that a living biological creature does a thing like that,” says physicist Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Prof. Bergman and his doctoral candidate Marian Plotkin engaged in a truly interdisciplinary research project to explain the biological processes that turn a hornet’s abdomen into solar cells.. David Bergman of Tel Aviv University’s , who was part of the team that made discovery. “The hornet may have discovered things we do not yet know.” In partnership with the late Prof. Jacob Ishay of the university’s
The research team made the discovery several years ago, and recently tried to mimic it. The results show that the hornet’s body shell, or exoskeleton, is able to harvest solar energy. They were recently published in the German journal Naturwissenschaften.