A team of MIT researchers has developed a coating that outperforms others not only in preventing foggy buildups, but also in maintaining good optical properties without distortion. Preventing glass from fogging or frosting up is a longstanding challenge with myriad applications, including eyeglasses, cameras, microscopes, mirrors, and refrigerated displays.
The surface is made by a process called layer-by-layer deposition. In this case, alternating layers of two different polymers — poly(vinyl alcohol) and poly(acrylic acid) — are deposited on a glass surface. “The magic of what we do is nanoscale processing,” said Michael Rubner, the TDK Professor of Polymer Materials Science and Engineering, producing the layers so as to control their properties almost down to the level of individual molecules.