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Group Sees AR Coating in Moths’ Eyes

Monday, November 12, 2012

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The eyes of moths have inspired an advance in anti-reflective coatings.

A group of researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, Germany, say they have come up with a cost-effective and customizable way to produce the coatings, by mimicking nature.

a moth's eye

European Research Media Center

Nature's nocturnal vision has been an eye opener for coatings researchers.

Anti-reflective (AR) coatings based on nanomaterials are used in solar photovoltaic cells, LED lights, eyeglasses and other devices.

Why Moths?

Moth’s eyes are covered with a layer of tiny structures that are smaller than the wavelength of incoming light. The natural coating eliminates glare, hiding the moths from predators and improving nocturnal vision.

AR coatings that actually mimic the moth’s eye have been developed and have shown to be effective, but they are also expensive and difficult to customize, according to the group.

Researchers' Process

The manufacturing process developed at the Max Planck Institute uses gold nanoparticles to replicate regular, tiny bumps similar to those found on the insect’s eyes, the researchers said.

Structural parameters such as period, height and shape of these structures can be easily controlled, the team says.

The researchers have formed a spin-off team "to exploit and commercialize their solution."

A request for more information was not returned.


Tagged categories: Biomimicry; Coating chemistry; Coatings technology; Research

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