I was really confused when I first saw this announcement from MIT on all the tech blogs, because multiple companies have been making "nano-coating" anti-wetting material (ie. NeverWet
) for a while, so how is this MIT project any different? Maybe they are modifying the glass itself, instead of adding a layer to it. I haven't looked closely at the details, if they're even available.
I haven't seen any numbers, but it seems like the nano-coatings can quickly make the glass slightly hazy, depending on the coating thickness (which is related to the desired durability of the coating). I doubt you'd want to put it on any optical glass, but maybe MIT's glass is different.
Definitely want it on my car's windshield though. Heck, coat the whole car with the stuff. They've already coated cell phones and circuit boards, and it seems to work reasonably well.
FTA: "While some earlier work has treated solar panels with hydrophobic coatings, the new multifunctional surfaces created by the MIT team are even more effective at repelling water, keeping the panels clean longer, the researchers say. In addition, existing hydrophobic coatings do not prevent reflective losses, giving the new system yet another advantage."
So there you have it. MIT's glass is different than coatings, and it will probably be well suited for optics because of the reduction of reflections.