Films with a fine structure consisting of innumerable nanopillars of mesoporous silica (MPS) are formed by a reactive ion etching process with a fluorine-containing gas. Each nanopillar has a tapered shape with a uniform height, which effectively suppresses reflection by the formation of an ideal graded refractive index structure. The nanopillars are spontaneously formed under low-pressure conditions, wherein locally deposited Al-F compounds, originating from an alumina plate in the etching chamber, work as a fine etching mask. The high etching rate of the MPS film allows a very high aspect ratio of the nanopillars. The refractive index of the MPS nanopillars can be universally tuned by a controlled incorporation of TiO2 into the mesopores, which results in effective reduction of reflectance on a given substrate. The outstanding antireflection performance is experimentally demonstrated for glass substrates with a wide refractive index range. Don't bounce back! Films with a fine structure consisting of nanopillars of mesoporous silica (MPS) are formed by a reactive ion etching process with a fluorine-containing gas. These antireflection coatings enable fine-tuning of the refractive index (see figure).
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