This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 760915
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Introducing SUN-PILOT

SUN-PILOT is an EU-funded collaboration that aims to prototype an industrial and cost-effective process for creating nanostructures similar to the moth eye on a variety of materials.
Using advanced polymer chemistry, plasma etching and injection moulding techniques, the surface properties of target materials will be transformed. Some will become antireflective and hydrophobic, whilst others will become more tactile and softer to touch. With SUN-PILOT, biomimicry will come to life.


The objective of SUN-PILOT is to develop a novel and cost-effective platform for up-scaling the fabrication of sub-wavelength nanostructures across large and non-planar surfaces. This will be achieved using state-of-the-art block copolymer chemistry and highly scaleable etching and injection moulding methods. Specific objectives include the demonstration of a clean and sustainable nano-patterning technology capable of reducing the maintenance and capital investment costs for optical component users whilst enhancing the lifetime of anti-reflection parts.

Pilot Implementations

Based on key stakeholder and market feedback, the innovative technology of SUN-PILOT will be mapped onto two relevant industrial environments (Optics and Automotive industries) as high impact end-users sectors demanding nano-patterned surfaces.

Optical Components

Antireflection solutions in the Optical Component industry typically rely on thin-film coatings comprising multiple layers of dielectric materials deposited onto every reflecting surface along the optical path. These coatings are typically generated by using high vacuum deposition systems and batch processes involving relatively high temperatures or high energy plasmas. Furthermore current technologies are lab based and cannot be scaled up for mass production. Sub-wavelength textured surfaces are an alternative method of achieving AR that delivers superior performance and longer lifetime.

Automotive interiors

The automotive industry is a huge consumer of injection moulded plastic parts. Tactile and anti-reflecting properties of interior trim components are conventionally made using bonded laminates or acid etched moulds. SUN-PILOT aims to enable the partial replacement of these standard moulds by new nano-patterned moulds. The project will therefore make Europe’s car industry more competitive through enhanced moulding functionality and lower costs.

Solar Panels

Up to 5 percent of solar energy reaching a solar panel is lost due to reflections off the glass surface. Whilst antireflective coatings can be applied, these are effective over only a small portion of the solar spectrum and incident angles. Nanostructuring using the SUN-PILOT process could boost the photovoltaic efficiency by maximizing light absorption across the entire solar spectrum and over a broader range of incident angles.

Consumer Electronics

Ambient light reflections off smartphone and laptop displays are annoying and waste battery power. Anti-glare overlays can be used but these are inconvenient, diminish image brightness and restrict viewing angles. Alternatively, diminished image contrast can be restored by increasing the backlight intensity, though this solution accelerates battery consumption.   Anti-reflective glass treated using the SUN-PILOT process could dramatically reduce ambient light reflections  whilst improving battery lifetime by increasing optical transmission efficiency through the multi-layered display.