Beyond saving the eyes of some smartphone and laptop users in the sun, the glass could have a wide range of applications. The glare-free properties of the glass could allow solar panels to absorb more of the sun’s rays that would have been reflected otherwise. This “multifunctional” glass is also resistant to fogging up, can repel water, and it can even clean itself.
Imagine car windows that did not fog up in the winter, or ones that could whisk away rain and dirt all on its own. The scientists imagine that their glass modifications could be applied to all sorts of optical lenses for eyeglasses and cameras, televisions and smaller screens, and windows for buildings.
The MIT scientists produced their new variant of glass by fabricating a sheet of glass made of multiple thin layers. The team adapted coating and etching techniques used in the semiconductor manufacturing to etch out parts of the glass surface.
The final surface of the glass is lined with tiny, nano-sized cones that are 200 nanometers wide and 1000 nanometers tall. The scientist say that the glass could be easily mass produced with the same nano-texture by passing molten glass though a pair of textured rollers.
MIT’s new magic glass is described in a paper published in the science journal ACS Nano, and co-authored by mechanical engineering graduate students Kyoo-Chul Park and Hyungryul Choi, chemical engineering professor Robert Cohen, and mechanical engineering professors Gareth McKinley and George Barbastathis.