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Title: Monolithic graded-refractive-index glass-based antireflective coatings. Broadband/omnidirectional light harvesting and self-cleaning characteristics

The design of multifunctional coatings impact impact the performance of many optical systems and components. Such coatings should be mechanically robust, and combine user-defined optical and wetting functions with scalable fabrication formulations. By taking cues from the properties of some natural biological structures, we report here the formation of low-refractive index antireflective glass films that embody omni-directional optical properties over a wide range of wavelengths, while also possessing specific wetting capabilities. The coatings comprise an interconnected network of nanoscale pores surrounded by a nanostructured silica framework. These structures result from a novel fabrication method that utilizes metastable spinodal phase separation in glass-based materials. The approach not only enables design of surface microstructures with graded-index antireflection characteristics, where the surface reflection is suppressed through optical impedance matching between interfaces, but also facilitates self-cleaning ability through modification of the surface chemistry. Based on near complete elimination of Fresnel reflections (yielding >95% transmission through a single-side coated glass) and corresponding increase in broadband transmission, the fabricated nanostructured surfaces are found to promote a general and an invaluable ~3–7% relative increase in current output of multiple direct/indirect bandgap photovoltaic cells. Moreover, these antireflective surfaces also demonstrate superior resistance against mechanical wear and abrasion. Unlikemore » conventional counterparts, the present antireflective coatings are essentially monolithic, enabling simultaneous realization of graded index anti-reflectivity, self-cleaning capability, and mechanical stability within the same surface. Moreover, the concept represents a fundamental basis for development of advanced coated optical quality products, especially where environmental exposure is required.« less
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  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Materials Chemistry. C
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 3; Journal Issue: 21; Journal ID: ISSN 2050-7526
Royal Society of Chemistry
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier: