Anti-reflection plastic developed based on nature’s moth eyes

Imuzak, a Japanese firm that deals with optical designs, has developed a plastic that reduces light reflection.

When the plastic is applied to the cover of a center meter, the screen cover of a car navigation system, etc, it reduces light reflection and glare and makes displayed information more viewable.

Imuzak is advancing the development in collaboration with an automaker based in Tochigi Prefecture, aiming to commercialize it by 2020.

The plastic was developed with reference to moth eyes. The eyes of moths transmit light without reflecting it. If moonlight is reflected by their eyes at night, it increases the chance of being caught by predators.

The light transmission is realized by protrusions that cover the eyes. Their height is about 200 nanometers, and the gap between them is also about 200 nanometers.

Imuzak succeeded in developing a metal mold that enables to form protrusions of an equivalent size on polycarbonate (PC) resin. It is also possible to form a curved cover by changing the shape of the mold. At this point, the size of resin can only be 1 x 1 inch, but the company plans to develop a technology to increase the size of the mold.

There are several technologies that prevent light from being reflected from a plastic cover such as (1) a technology to enlarge the hood of an instrument panel to prevent sunlight from entering, (2) technology to attach an anti-reflection film to the surface of a cover and (3) AR (anti-reflection) coating technology, which applies chemical liquid.

The new technology to form protrusions by using a metal mold eliminates the need for additional processes such as surface finishing, making it possible to lower production cost.

“The number of in-vehicle devices is increasing such as Tesla’s characteristic center display,” Imuzak said. “The number of applications of the technology is increasing.”

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