Transparent Coating Makes Glass Self-Cleaning & Scratch-Resistant

A research team from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University has developed a transparent coating that makes regular glass tough, self-cleaning, and very slippery. This new coating could be used to create scratch-resistant eyeglass lenses, self-cleaning windows, better solar panels, and for new lab-on-a-chip and medical diagnostic devices. It builds on a technology the team pioneered called Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces (SLIPS) - the slipperiest synthetic surface known. SLIPS was inspired by the strategy of the carnivorous pitcher plant, which lures insects onto the ultra-slippery surface of its leaves, where they slide to their doom. The new coating is equally slippery, but more durable and fully transparent. The researchers create it by making a glass honeycomb-like structure with craters, then coating it with a Teflon-like chemical that binds to the honeycomb cells to form a stable liquid film. That film repels droplets of both water and oily liquids. Because it's a liquid, it flows, which helps the coating repair itself when damaged.