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Cheaper, better eyeglasses, thanks to nanotechnology

Engineers have invented a new nanotechnology that could improve the performance and lower the cost of eyeglasses.

Engineers have invented a new nanotechnology that could improve the performance and lower the cost of eyeglasses.

Chemical engineers at Oregon State University invented a process to deposit “nanostructure films” on various surfaces.

The films reduce the reflectance of light. For eyeglasses, that means they'll be able to capture more light, reduce glare and reduce exposure to ultraviolet light.

Coatings with these features are already available, but the new technology is expected to perform better at a lower cost. Better still, it can be applied on-site in a dispenser's office.

The technique may also provide a way to engineer solar cells to more efficiently produce energy, or to improve the lenses on cameras.

The key to the process is use of a chemical bath, controlled by a microreactor, to place thin film deposits on surfaces such as glass, plastic, silicon or aluminum.

The technology can create a type of nanostructure "that resembles millions of tiny pyramids in a small space," which together reduce the reflectance of any light.

The engineers are now working on applying the thin film to polycarbonate, the plastic most commonly used in eyeglass production. A patent has been applied for on the new technology, and the first commercial products could be ready within a year.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com