WASHINGTON - In an advance toward glass that remains clear under the harshest of conditions, scientists are reporting development of a new water-repellant coating that resists both fogging and frosting. Their research on the coating, which could have uses ranging from automobile windshields to camera lenses, appears in the journal ACS Nano. The paper is titled “Zwitter-Wettability and Antifogging Coatings with Frost-Resisting Capabilities.”

Michael F. Rubner, Robert E. Cohen and colleagues point out that anti-fogging coatings that absorb water have been the focus of attention because of their ability to reduce light scattering and the resultant distortion caused by condensation. However, under extreme fogging conditions these surfaces may frost and become foggy. The researchers set out to make a better coating to withstand the aggressive conditions.

The report describes development and testing of a new coating that rapidly absorbs water molecules that cannot freeze in the coating. At the same time, the coating has a water-repelling or hydrophobic effect to larger water droplets. The hydrophobic characteristic means that water droplets do not spread extensively on the coating but essentially remain as flattened droplets.

For additional information about the paper, visit http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nn3057966.