Moth eye has inspired researchers to design a new, highly effective anti-reflective coating that could be useful for solar panels, smartphones, and tablet computers. These mainly nocturnal creatures have evolved eyes that are non-reflective to protect them from the notice of predators.
The non-reflective nature of the moth eye arises because of the periodic nanoscale structure of the surface. The roughly patterned structure causes incident light to bounce around in random directions and be transmitted into the eye rather than reflect off it, as it would be from a smooth surface.
Researchers are attempting to mimic the nanoscale arrayed surface of the moth eye to create anti-reflection structures (ARSs) for coatings. The team has already demonstrated an ARS able to suppress reflection over a wide range of light wavelengths and incident angles. But the mold to produce the highly structured Velcro-like layer was fabricated by irradiating a glassy carbon substrate with an oxygen ion beam in an electron-cyclotron resonance-type ion source system. For large scale production of cost-effective anti-reflective coatings, this approach just isn’t practical.