One-step Non-reflective Nanocoatings? It's All About The Mothematics

No, that's not a typo.

In an effort to find a non-reflective nanocoating that could be applied during the production process of things like car instrument panels, glasses, and giant one-way police mirrors that are inevitably installed in a wrong and hilarious way, scientists have turned to the humble and not-so-bright moth.

While the periodic suicide of moths through the mechanisms of pretty lights and burning flames lends credence to the idea that these little fellas not only aren't too bright but don't see so well, it's not actually what they see, but what other animals don't, that is of concern to the scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg, Germany.

As it turns out, the moth has an almost perfect eye-cloaking system. Unlike cats, who often look like the spawn of the deepest pits of hell when encountered at night, due to the reflection and refraction of light from their slitted eyes, the eyes of a moth return almost no light to the environment once taken in. This helps them avoid getting snapped up by predators when searching for food at dusk or after the latest episode of "Glee" is over.

This lack of reflectivity is due to a series of protuberances on the surface of a moth's eye that are actually smaller than the wavelength of visible light. These little nubbins' form a pattern that causes light to be dispersed and diffused so efficiently that none escapes into the outside world.

Enter human scientists in large lab coats and with German accents. Using their overly large brains, they've been able to replicate this effect in a hard coating. This coating is applied to the molding tools used to make transparent surfaces of any stripe, and when the polymer for the product is placed into the mold, non-reflective nanostructure is transferred to it directly from the mold itself. Ah, science!

Non-reflective speedometerNon-reflective speedometer 

This results in a one-step process to produce a perfectly nonrefclective surface, which will save companies large amounts of money currently spent on applying these coatings after the product has been created. In addition, the nature of this nano-tech is that it is as close to non-reflective as humanly and insectly possible, which is just about the best you're going to get.

So throw away those old glasses, junk that old car and get ready for a new seeing experience. Just be careful around candles.

Source: ScienceDaily