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.


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:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Graphene microphone outperforms traditional nickel and offers ultrasonic reach
27.11.2015 | Institute of Physics

nachricht Tracking down the 'missing' carbon from the Martian atmosphere
25.11.2015 | California Institute of Technology

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: Climate study finds evidence of global shift in the 1980s

Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.

Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...

Im Focus: Innovative Photovoltaics – from the Lab to the Façade

Fraunhofer ISE Demonstrates New Cell and Module Technologies on its Outer Building Façade

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...

Im Focus: Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...

Im Focus: Laser process simulation available as app for first time

In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.

Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...

Im Focus: Quantum Simulation: A Better Understanding of Magnetism

Heidelberg physicists use ultracold atoms to imitate the behaviour of electrons in a solid

Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

Urbanisation and migration from rural areas challenging agriculture in Eastern Europe

30.11.2015 | Event News

Fraunhofer’s Urban Futures Conference: 2 days in the city of the future

25.11.2015 | Event News

Gluten oder nicht Gluten? Überempfindlichkeit auf Weizen kann unterschiedliche Ursachen haben

17.11.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Waters are more polluted than tests say: Standard toxicity analyses come up short

30.11.2015 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Urbanisation and migration from rural areas challenging agriculture in Eastern Europe

30.11.2015 | Event News

Siemens helps transform the main wastewater treatment plant in Vienna into a green power plant

30.11.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>