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Initiative-I/IRG-II Highlights

A New Nanocoating Prevents Frost Formation on Glass

Both images show glass slides partially coated with the anti-frost coating after they have been moved from below freezing temperatures to a high humidity room temperature environment. Frost formation is only observed on the non-coated part of the glass. In both cases, water droplets have been placed on the frost-free coating to illustrate the unique ability of the coating to resist wetting by water droplets.

In a cross-collaboration between MIT MRSEC Initiative-I and IRG-II, CMSE researchers have developed a nanoscale, optical quality coating that can prevent frost from forming on surfaces when moved from sub-freezing temperatures to high humidity environments. The coating is capable of absorbing water in a molecular form that cannot freeze under these conditions. In addition, the coating has the peculiar property of absorbing a significant amount of molecular water from vapor but not wetting with water droplets. This helps to prevent fouling of the coating and loss of properties in time. This new combination of properties is referred to as zwitter-wettability. Possible applications of this new coating include anti-fogging/anti-frost coatings for eyeglasses, lenses and car windows.

Zwitter-Wettability and Antifogging Coatings with Frost-Resisting Capabilities, H. Lee, M. Alcaraz, M. Rubner, and R. Cohen, ACS Nano, 2013, 7 (3), 2172–2185.

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