I’m convinced: nanotechnology can and will do anything. In this case, it’s creating perfectly non-reflecting views on everything from mobile phone displays to eyeglasses, without requiring extra steps in the manufacturing process. And it’s the best moth-inspired idea since The Tick.
Moths, you see, have evolved such that their eyes don’t reflect light to help with hunting at dusk:
Tiny protuberances smaller than the wavelength of light form a periodic structure on the surface. This nanostructure creates a gentle transition between the refractive indices of the air and the cornea. As a result, the reflection of light is reduced and the moth remains undetected.
And while your mobile phone’s no predator, the ability to look at the screen without any reflective glare is incredibly appealing. But that’s just for consumers.
For manufacturers, the appeal comes from the efficiency of the nanocoating process:
Whereas conventional methods apply the anti-reflective coating in a separate step after production, the Fraunhofer scientists have found a way of reducing light reflection during actual manufacture of the part or component: “We have modified conventional injection molding in such a way that the desired nanostructure is imparted to the surface during the process,” explains Dr. Frank Burmeister, project manager at the IWM.
The first stop for the technology may be the automotive industry, but if it proves affordable we should be seeing it – and not glare – everywhere. [PhysOrg]