Amoth’s eye and lotus leaf were the inspirations for an antireflective water-repelling (superhydrophobic) glass coating that holds significant potential for solar panels, lenses, detectors, windows, weapons systems and many other products. The discovery by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which was detailed in a paper published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry C, is based on a mechanically robust nanostructured layer of porous glass film. The coating can be customized to be superhydrophobic, fog-resistant and antireflective.
“While lotus leaves repel water and self-clean when it rains, a moth’s eyes are antireflective because of naturally covered tapered nanostructures where the refractive index gradually increases as light travels to the moth’s cornea,” said Tolga Aytug, lead author of the paper and a member of ORNL’s Materials Chemistry Group. “Combined, these features provide a truly game-changing ability to design coatings for specific properties and performance.”