An antifogging coating technology developed by researchers in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has won a 2011 R&D 100 award. The developers of Nanostructured Antifogging Coating are EETD's Sam Mao, Vasileia Zormpa and Xiaobo Chen.
The coating provides a durable, nontoxic, antifogging and self-cleaning coating for architectural glass, windshields, eyewear and solar panels. No chemical catalysts or UV radiation are required to activate it, so it works at night. The technology also improves safety when condensation can be hazardous—for sport goggles, vehicle windows, protective facemasks, and ballistic shields.
In addition to convenience and safety, the self-cleaning property can save water used to clean building windows, and it can offer some improvement in the efficiency of solar panels in dusty, desert environments. Because the technology is non-toxic, unlike some of its competitors, it can be used on dental mirrors and food wrap in refrigerated displays.
The coating consists of superhydrophilic titanium dioxide nanoparticles coating a surface that prevents water droplets on the surface from retaining their shape— instead they collapse and flatten.
The research that led to this technology was funded by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy of the U.S. Department of Energy, and by a Lab-Directed Research and Development grant from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.