By Nick Gilbert
An innovative plastic has been developed by a research team from A*STAR's Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) using the nanoimprint technology. The plastic offers enhanced performance and wider viewing angles than the existing anti-glare and anti-reflective plastics in the market.
The new plastic reflects visible light in the range of 0.09-0.2% and is suitable for various applications ranging from TV displays to windows and solar cells. As the plastic uses the nanotechnology method, it retains very low reflectivity of less than 0.7% at angles up to 45°, whereas conventional plastics have a reflectivity of nearly 1% of visible light. Thus, the organic solar cells made with the nano-based plastic can have larger areas for light absorption and TV displays can have extended viewing angles with reduced glare.
The high-quality anti-reflective plastic is the result of the work performed by the Industrial Consortium On Nanoimprint (ICON), Singapore's first nanotechnology consortium, led by the IMRE. The consortium partners local and international companies to advance the production of nanoimprint technology. The technology depends on engineering the physical properties of the plastics instead of using harmful chemicals to alter the characteristics of the plastic. The nanoimprint technology has enabled the IMRE team to produce complex, unique hierarchical ¡®moth eye-like' anti-reflective structures. This resulted in special patterns that reduces reflection and glare and provides wider viewing angles when compared to the currently available plastic materials. Mr. Wilson Kim Woo Yong, Director of Global Marketing at Young Chang Chemical, noted that exceptional results from the ICON work will enable their expansion into new markets, like the solar and touchscreen panel sectors.