Transparent Surfaces Inspired by Nature

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Journal Article
Advanced Optical Materials, 2018, 6 (14)
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© 2018 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim Nature has long inspired scientists and engineers. As one ubiquitous example of this, nature has provided all with several clever methods to absorb, repel, and/or allow both sunlight and water to pass through surfaces. Moth's eyes (highly antireflective) and lotus leaves (highly hydrophobic and self-cleaning) represent durable natural surfaces which exhibit nearly ideal physical and optical properties. Man-made transparent surfaces must also be able to cope with water and dust while reaching the maximum possible light transmission for solar collectors, displays, and other optical devices. To explore the link between these – particularly for transparent surfaces – this review puts the physics, progress, and limitations of synthetic materials in context with natural materials. This perspective reveals that there is still much more to learn (and implement) if it is hoped to match the multifunctionality and resilience of natural materials.
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