Could A Nano-Thin Layer Of Gold Be The Future Of Anti-Fog Lenses?

Could A Nano-Thin Layer Of Gold Be The Future Of Anti-Fog Lenses?

Gear

Could A Nano-Thin Layer Of Gold Be The Future Of Anti-Fog Lenses?

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Foggy goggles can be the bane of existence for many skiers and snowboarders. There’s little worse in a ski day than enjoying a beautiful run only to suddenly have your vision near completely blocked because your face mask was just slightly too far under your eyewear. Sure, there are some “cures” for that problem. Higher quality goggles tend to fog less, good ventilation can prevent moisture from building up, and there are some sprays that can help, but none of those fixes are really permanent or that consistent.

Fortunately for us, the future of anti-fog technology is looking bright, as researchers with ETH Zurich have developed a more permanent form of anti-fog lenses using a transparent gold nanocoating. Currently, the tech is only being developed for glasses, and the company is looking more directly towards car windshields as their next step, but who knows? Maybe someday, all of our goggles will have a thin gold layer!

The coating is made up of an extremely thin layer of gold clusters between two layers of titanium oxide. The 10 nanometer layer absorbs infrared radiation from the sun, heating the layer, and the lenses, up by about 46°F (8°C). With that temperature increase, condensation struggles to build-up on the lenses to begin with. Don’t be concerned, though, that doesn’t mean your eyes will be heated underneath the lenses. According to the research, because the layer absorbs the infrared radiation, it successfully heats the lens without warming up whatever’s underneath it.

You know how your car’s rear window has those lines through it that conduct electricity to build up heat and prevent condensation? It’s essentially the same idea, except it uses the sun as the battery. With that, it’s still entirely possible to defog the lenses with electricity when it’s a bit dark or cloudy, but relying on sunlight makes it significantly less expensive than if a battery was needed.

Okay, so, gold, that’s pretty expensive, right? Well, as the researchers point out, so little gold is actually required that the anti-fog layer wouldn’t cost manufacturers that much material wise. On top of that, according to Engadget, the coating doesn’t require manufacturers to rely on uncommon techniques, so it’s quite likely that current production lines are already sufficient enough to start putting in the work. Basically, it’s price would really come down to how much the manufactures decide to up-charge the product.

Researchers will continue to look into the use of other, possibly cheaper metals, as well as where else they could implement this technology. In theory, it could work on any transparent surface, which means this could possibly become a norm on ski goggles, at some point in the future.

Image Credit: ETH Zürich via YouTube

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