Researchers at the University of California – Irvine (UC Irvine) have developed a coating method that can reduce sun glare from solar arrays. The material is also water resistant.
“We found that a very simple process and a tiny bit of gold can turn a transparent film black,” said Robert Corn, a UC Irvine chemistry professor and leader of the research team that developed the coatings in a news release.
People have often complained about glare from solar panels and the problem is also frequently encountered near airports. The material might also find applications in military as troops are at a risk of having their position revealed because of light bouncing.
The solar panel glass used is smooth and therefore produces reflection. One frequently encounters the same thing on a relatively less windy day on the surface of a pond. Any smooth surface will reflect more. But coming back to the airport vicinity problem; the reflection increases as the sun moves away from perpendicular to the panel. Control towers, arriving aircraft are located close to the ground, and thus more susceptible to the glare.
The findings reported in the journal Nano Letters, reveal that the UC Irvine team copied a pattern of nano-cones on Teflon films and then coated them using a gold vapour deposition process.
“This fabrication method can be used to create flexible nanocone-structured gold thin films over large surface areas (cm2) and should be rapidly incorporated into new technological applications that require wide-angle and broadband antireflective coatings.”1
UC Irvine was founded in 1965 and was ranked first among U.S. universities under 50 years old by the London-based Times Higher Education.