New Material Reflects Absolutely Nothing

Many optical technologies such as camera lenses, solar cells and light emitting diodes depend in part on light being efficiently transmitted through a medium. Reflections are are a waste of that precious light.

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), in Troy, NY, and semiconductor maker Crystal IS, in Green Island, NY, have developed a new type of nanostructured coating that can virtually eliminate reflections, potentially leading to dramatic improvements in optical devices.

The researchers showed that they can prevent almost all reflection by "growing" nanoscale rods projected at specific angles from a surface. The material stops reflections from nearly all the colors of the visible spectrum, as well as some infrared light. As a result the total reflection is 10 times less than it is with current coatings.

Applied to a solar cell, the new coating would increase the efficiency by a few percentage points. LEDs, already one of the most efficient ways to produce light, could also become much more efficient. A remarkable 40 percent improvement could be seen in LEDs, where a large amount of light generated by a semiconductor is typically trapped inside the device by reflections.

Via: Technology Review