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Through a glass, clearly

April 27, 2012 | Hogan Keyser
through_a_glass_nanometer.jpgApril 27, 2012 via -- MIT researchers have found a way to make glass that's anti-fogging, self-cleaning, and free of glare.

The new way of creating surface textures on glass virtually eliminates reflections, producing glass that is almost unrecognizable because of its absence of glare -- and whose surface causes water droplets to bounce right off, like tiny rubber balls.

The new "multifunctional" glass, based on surface nanotextures that produce an array of conical features, is self-cleaning and resists fogging and glare, the researchers say. Ultimately, they hope it can be made using an inexpensive manufacturing process that could be applied to optical devices, the screens of smartphones and televisions, solar panels, car windshields and even windows in buildings.

Photovoltaic panels, mechanical engineering graduate student Kyoo-Chul Park explains, can lose as much as 40 percent of their efficiency within six months as dust and dirt accumulate on their surfaces. But a solar panel protected by the new self-cleaning glass, he says, would have much less of a problem.

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