Scientific researchers draw inspiration from nature’s brilliance as they seek to develop transformative solutions to unresolved challenges. PolyU Associate Vice President (Research and Innovation) Prof. Wang Zuankai and his team, have developed an innovative passive radiative cooling ceramic material inspired by nature. Their research, published in the journal Science, details how they achieved near-perfect 99.6% solar reflectivity through biomimicry of the whitest known beetle, Cyphochilus.


By investigating the beetle’s scattering system under its scales, the team engineered their cooling ceramic with a hierarchical porous structure for optimised light scattering. This enabled highly efficient reflection of solar radiation while allowing escape of terrestrial radiation, reducing indoor cooling demand.


The discovery addressed a research gap around high solar reflectivity for passive radiative cooling. Initial testing found the nature-inspired system provided excellent daytime cooling performance with weather resistance and strength, which could prove transformative for sustainable buildings by lowering energy consumption for indoor cooling.


“Nature offers us an abundance of intricate designs, efficient systems and sustainable solutions that have evolved over millions of years. Through careful study of these natural phenomena, we can uncover innovative ideas and principles that can be translated into practical applications,” said Prof. Wang.


The research is a collaboration with co-author PolyU Vice President (Research and Innovation) Prof. Christopher Chao and a research team from the City University of Hong Kong.