Eyes of nocturnal moths are anti‑reflective due to nanoscale protrusions.

Moths have unique sub-wavelength structures coating their eyes which dramatically minimize light reflection over a much broader range of wavelengths than conventional anti-reflective coatings. The outer surfaces of moth corneal lenses are covered with a regular pattern of conical protuberances, generally 200-300 nm in height and spacing. These protuberances reduce light reflection by creating a refractive index gradient between the air-lens interface, more gradually transitioning the change in light speed between the air and eye and hence minimizing reflection. These unique structures help moths evade detection by predators in moonlight and maximize light capture for seeing in the dark. Moth-eye inspired antireflective coatings that demonstrate high-performance over large band widths at low fabrication cost have recently been developed for solar panels, with many other potential products applications.

Image: Alan Jaras /
Image: Alan Jaras /
Image: Alan Jaras /
Image: Massel tow /
Image: Nigel Jones /

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Last Updated October 18, 2016