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Scientists create a non-glare surface inspired by moth's eyeballs

Scientists create a non-glare surface inspired by moth's eyeballs
Some residents on Balboa Island and Bayside Drive have complained about the brightness coming off nearby solar panels, but a UCI discovery may help eliminate this and other kinds of annoying glare. (Kent Treptow / Daily Pilot)

UC Irvine scientists say they have discovered a way to make a surface capable of eliminating glare. It could be a huge relief to anyone blinded by solar panels and by extremely bright electronic displays.

The discovery could also make other kinds of electronic devices more easily visible in bright sunlight, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops.

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Also, soldiers in combat areas may be less likely to have their positions given away to the enemy by reducing the glare coming off their weapons and equipment, UCI scientists said.

The process uses a bit of gold and what the UCI scientists figured out about the peculiar qualities of moth eyeballs.

"To do it," UC Irvine reported, "the group etched a repeating pattern of cones modeled on moth eyeballs at the nanoscale on Teflon and other nonstick surfaces."

The scientists then applied a thin layer of gold over the cones and the shine from the gold and any light reflecting onto it was all but obliterated.

The material might even be able to keep moisture and grime from accumulating on solar panels, which might make them work more effectively.

UC Irvine's Office of Technology Alliances has filed a patent application for the work.

"We're excited about where this technology might lead and who could be interested in exploring the commercial opportunities that this new advancement presents," said UCI senior licensing officer Doug Crawford.

ron.white@latimes.com

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