Hierarchical Nanoporous Silica Films for Wear Resistant Antireflection Coatings

High-performance antireflection (AR) layers were prepared by depositing hierarchical nanoporous silica films on glass substrates. We designed a composite layer consisting of mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) and a mesoporous silica matrix. The introduction of bimodal nanoporous structures, i.e., independent nanopore formation within the MSN and within the matrix, was achieved by using surface-protected MSNs and a polymeric nonionic surfactant template during the fabrication process. A porosity of more than 40% was achieved for composite AR materials. The protrusion of MSNs from the matrix led to spontaneous formation of nanoscale roughness on the surface of the coatings, which enhanced the AR properties. The solid bonding of the MSNs to the nanoporous matrices played an important role in the achievement of high mechanical durability. The optimal nanoporous coating, which contained ca. 50 wt % MSN, exhibited high transparency (91.5–97.5%) and low reflectance (<2.2%), over the whole range of visible light wavelengths, and sufficient wear resistance.