Future Chips Constellation
Team Creates World’s First
Ideal Anti-Reflection Coating
A team of Rensselaer researchers has created the world’s first material that reflects virtually no light. The research could open the door to much brighter LEDs, more efficient solar cells, and a new class of “smart” light sources that adjust to specific environments, among many other potential applications.
Most surfaces reflect some light from a puddle of water all the way to a mirror. The new material has almost the same refractive index as air, making it an ideal building block for anti-reflection coatings. It sets a world record by decreasing the reflectivity compared to conventional anti-reflection coatings by an order of magnitude.
A fundamental property called the refractive index governs the amount of light a material reflects, as well as other optical properties such as diffraction, refraction, and the speed of light inside the material. “The refractive index is the most fundamental quantity in optics and photonics,” says E. Fred Schubert, the Wellfleet Senior Constellation Professor of the Future Chips Constellation at Rensselaer and senior author of the paper.
Schubert and his team have created a material with a refractive index of 1.05, which is extremely close to the refractive index of air and the lowest ever reported.