Synthetic microspheres for antireflective coatings

Since the early discovery of the antireflection properties of insect compound eyes, new examples of natural antireflective coatings have been rare. In a study, researchers report the fabrication and optical characterisation of a biologically inspired antireflective surface.

Synthetic brochosomes (false coloured). Source: Shikuan Yang / Birgitt Boschitsch / Penn State -

The coating emulates the intricate surface architectures of leafhopper-produced brochosomes – soccer ball-like microscale granules with nanoscale indentations.

Compatible with various materials

Their method utilises double-layer colloidal crystal templates in conjunction with site-specific electrochemical growth to create these structures, and is compatible with various materials including metals, metal oxides, and conductive polymers. These brochosome coatings (BCs) can be designed to exhibit strong omnidirectional antireflective performance of wavelengths from 250 to 2000 nm, comparable to the state-of-the-art antireflective coatings. The results provide evidence for the use of brochosomes as a camouflage coating against predators of leafhoppers or their eggs. The discovery may find applications in solar energy harvesting, imaging, and sensing devices.

The study is published in: Nature Communications 8, 2017.

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