Singapore-made anti-reflective plastics to be commercialized

May 23, 2012

The innovative plastics offer improved performance and wider viewing angles over existing anti-reflective plastics in the market. This plastic uses a locally-developed nanotechnology method that creates a complex pattern of super tiny structures that mimic the patterns found on a moth’s eye, which has a unique method of diffusing light. 

Researchers from A*STAR’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) and their commercial partners have developed a new plastic that reflects just 0.09 – 0.2% of the visible light hitting its surface. This matches or betters existing anti-reflective and anti-glare plastics in the market, which typically have reported reflectivity of around 1% of visible light. Such plastics are used in anything from TV displays to windows and even solar cells. Because of the unique nanotechnology method used, the new plastic developed by IMRE maintains very low reflectivity (<0.7%) at angles up to 45˚. This means that TV viewers can have wider viewing angles with less glare and organic solar cells have larger areas for light absorption.    

“The new plastic was made possible because of the unique nanoimprint expertise that we have developed at IMRE,” said Dr. Low Hong Yee, the senior scientist who is leading the research. Several companies are in the process of licensing the anti-reflective nanostructure technology from Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd, the technology transfer arm of A*STAR. “We are also developing complementary research that allows the technology to be easily ramped-up to an industrial scale,” explained Dr. Low.

This plastic material is the first successful result of the IMRE-led Industrial Consortium On Nanoimprint (ICON), which partners local and overseas companies to promote the manufacturing of nanoimprint technology. Nanoimprinting relies on engineering the physical aspects of the plastics rather than using harmful chemicals to change the properties of the plastic. The technology has allowed the researchers to create very unique, complex hierarchical ‘moth eye-like’ anti-reflective structures where nanometer-sized structures are placed on top of other microstructures - different from how other similar plastics are made. This formed special patterns that are better at reducing glare and reflection and provides wider viewing angles than the current available .

“This is an exciting innovation – mimicking nature through the nanoimprint technology to solve real world problems. I am very pleased that the collaboration with industry has helped move this R&D from the laboratory to application in the industry, said Prof Andy Hor, IMRE’s Executive Director. He adds, “The development of the new plastic is a testament to the strength of Singapore’s advanced R&D capabilities, the benefits of nanoimprint technology and the confidence that companies place on our technologies.”

“The outstanding results from this consortium work will benefit our company's expansion into new markets such as in the touchscreen panel and solar business sectors," said Mr. Wilson Kim Woo Yong, Director, Global Marketing from Young Chang Chemical Co., Ltd.

“We have been very impressed with the developed technology and with the excellent team of researchers working on the anti-reflective structures”, said Mr. Tatsuo Shirahama, President from Innox Co. Ltd.

“The results from the consortium work are key in the decision making for our future strategic planning,” said Dr. Yuji Akatsu, Business Unit Manager from the Nanotechnology business unit, Advanced Products Business Headquarters, NTT-AT.

Explore further: Konarka and Evident to Develop Ultra High Performance Power Plastic

Related Stories

Behind-the-scenes advances underpin new super-strong plastics

October 20, 2010

Long-awaited advances in reducing the cost of certain catalysts — substances that kick-start chemical reactions — have quietly led to production of super-strong forms of the world's most widely used plastics, according ...

Supercomputers ensure plastics peg out later

November 23, 2010

( -- Scientists from The Australian National University have used supercomputers to reveal how plastic items like the humble clothes peg can be designed to withstand the sun for longer.

Recommended for you

A new form of real gold, almost as light as air

November 25, 2015

Researchers at ETH Zurich have created a new type of foam made of real gold. It is the lightest form ever produced of the precious metal: a thousand times lighter than its conventional form and yet it is nearly impossible ...

New 'self-healing' gel makes electronics more flexible

November 25, 2015

Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a first-of-its-kind self-healing gel that repairs and connects electronic circuits, creating opportunities to advance the ...

Getting under the skin of a medieval mystery

November 23, 2015

A simple PVC eraser has helped an international team of scientists led by bioarchaeologists at the University of York to resolve the mystery surrounding the tissue-thin parchment used by medieval scribes to produce the first ...

Atom-sized craters make a catalyst much more active

November 24, 2015

Bombarding and stretching an important industrial catalyst opens up tiny holes on its surface where atoms can attach and react, greatly increasing its activity as a promoter of chemical reactions, according to a study by ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.