Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Let the light shine through: and no more spitting in your dive mask.

20.09.2004


Fogged up glasses, windscreens and bathroom mirrors may be a thing of the past.

Researchers have invented a new, permanent, multi-purpose coating technology that will prevent your spectacles, car windscreen or bathroom mirror fogging up ever again. The coating, called XeroCoat, also cuts out unwanted reflections from glass, letting more light through. Making it ideal for spectacles and improving the performance of solar cells and glasshouses.

University of Queensland physicists Michael Harvey and Paul Meredith developed this technology based upon thin films of nano-porous silica; this means that “the coating is a layer of glass full of tiny invisible bubbles, just like the foam on beer,” said Mr Harvey. “Because it’s made of glass it’s as hard as glass,” he said, giving the added benefit of a hard coating on items to prevent or reduce scratching. The whole production process is extremely simple, very low-cost and environmentally friendly. Queensland’s Sustainable Energy Innovation Fund, administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, recently awarded the team a grant to further develop the new coating.



Their support will allow trials of this technology to improve the efficiency of solar cells, with the first improved prototypes expected by January 2005. This research also won Michael Harvey a place amongst 15 other early-career scientists who have presented their work to the public and media as part of Fresh Science 2004. The winner will receive a study tour to the UK courtesy of the British Council.

Dr Meredith said existing technologies for applying anti-reflection coatings were all too expensive for the wide areas required for solar collector surfaces. “This innovation is set to revolutionise the use of solar energy by making it cheaper and more effective,” he said. Mr Harvey said that the new coating can be applied to many surfaces, including glass and plastics, and so permanently prevent these items fogging up. Current research is developing this anti-fogging, anti-reflection and scratch resistant coating for products such as spectacles, sunglasses, windscreens and bathroom mirrors.

The University of Queensland’s commercialisation arm, UniQuest, has formed a company, XeroCoat Pty Ltd, to develop and market this technology, offering a better coating solution than those currently available. As the technology develops, Mr Harvey expects that many more applications will emerge, including: enhancing food production by improving the function of greenhouses; scratch-proofing plastics; and improving the performance of high-rise building windows.

“One day soon we will see XeroCoat on products ranging from spectacles, swim and ski goggles to car windscreens and even bathroom mirrors. We are taking nanotechnology out of the lab and putting it in the bathroom,” Mr Harvey said.

Niall Byrne | alfa
Further information:
http://www.freshscience.org

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht The sleeping giant
12.02.2016 | ESA/Hubble Information Centre

nachricht Scientists take nanoparticle snapshots
11.02.2016 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Production of an AIDS vaccine in algae

Today, plants and microorganisms are heavily used for the production of medicinal products. The production of biopharmaceuticals in plants, also referred to as “Molecular Pharming”, represents a continuously growing field of plant biotechnology. Preferred host organisms include yeast and crop plants, such as maize and potato – plants with high demands. With the help of a special algal strain, the research team of Prof. Ralph Bock at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam strives to develop a more efficient and resource-saving system for the production of medicines and vaccines. They tested its practicality by synthesizing a component of a potential AIDS vaccine.

The use of plants and microorganisms to produce pharmaceuticals is nothing new. In 1982, bacteria were genetically modified to produce human insulin, a drug...

Im Focus: The most accurate optical single-ion clock worldwide

Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock which attains an accuracy which had only been predicted theoretically so far. Their optical ytterbium clock achieved a relative systematic measurement uncertainty of 3 E-18. The results have been published in the current issue of the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters".

Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock...

Im Focus: Goodbye ground control: autonomous nanosatellites

The University of Würzburg has two new space projects in the pipeline which are concerned with the observation of planets and autonomous fault correction aboard satellites. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy funds the projects with around 1.6 million euros.

Detecting tornadoes that sweep across Mars. Discovering meteors that fall to Earth. Investigating strange lightning that flashes from Earth's atmosphere into...

Im Focus: Flow phenomena on solid surfaces: Physicists highlight key role played by boundary layer velocity

Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.

The study has been published in the respected academic journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).

Im Focus: New study: How stable is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet?

Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels

A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation in Africa 2016

12.02.2016 | Event News

Travel grants available: Meet the world’s most proficient mathematicians and computer scientists

09.02.2016 | Event News

AKL’16: Experience Laser Technology Live in Europe´s Largest Laser Application Center!

02.02.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene leans on glass to advance electronics

12.02.2016 | Materials Sciences

Twisting magnets enhance data storage capacity

12.02.2016 | Materials Sciences

A metal that behaves like water

12.02.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>