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New Spin-off Company founded by FORTH for the production of reflection-free glass that improves the quality of consumer electronics displays

Sep 16, 2020

A new spin-off company under the name “Biomimetic” was created leveraging patented technology developed at the Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser (IESL, www.iesl.forth.gr) of the Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (www.forth.gr). The company was founded by the Research Director Dr. Emmanuel Stratakis, together with FORTH research personnel Dr. Evangelos Skoulas, Mr. Andreas Lemonis, Mr. Antonis Papadopoulos and Mr. Alexandros Mimidis, as co-founders. The company raised 900.000€ seed funding by Big Pi Ventures (https://bigpi.vc/), one of the funds of EquiFund supported by the European Investment Fund (EIF). It is the second spin-off company of IESL that is financed by Big Pi within the last six months.

The objective of Biomimetic is to decrease the light reflection or glare of transparent surfaces or screens, which is of high importance for practically any optical system and consumer electronics device, by utilizing laser irradiation. For example, the reflectivity of glass is a key reason, which makes tablets impossible to use in broad daylight. The current ways of producing anti-reflective glass are expensive, involve a complex multi-step process and require the use of chemicals, thus, being very harmful to the environment. In this context, the need of sustainable and cost efficient anti-reflective glass treatments is one of the most challenging industry bets.

The photo demonstrates the anti-reflective structure of the cicada wings (microscope image) and the result of its application on a part of a glass surface, where the reflection is visibly eliminated.

Biomimeticoffers a simple, low-cost and environmentally friendly alternative. Inspired by the Greek words "bios" and "mimesis", Biomimetic exploits nature’s wisdom using laser light on glass and other transparent materials, in order to reproduce the extraordinary characteristics of living organisms. To be more specific, these glasstreatments mimic the high-performance anti-reflective nanostructures of the wings of several species of Cicadas and Butterflies. The technology has a huge range of applications in consumer electronics displays, solar panels and specialized optical components.

Dr. Stratakis, said: “Our vision became reality. Following our long-lasting research efforts at the Ultrafast Laser Micro and Nano Processing Laboratory of IESL-FORTH (https://www.iesl.forth.gr/en/research/ULNMP-Group) on how to use lasers to mimic the exceptional functionalities of the surfaces created by nature, it is very important that there was an investment interest in establishing an innovative Greek company in Crete, focusing on the application of this technology, towards improving the optical quality of glass. We envisage that future displays and other products in the huge glass coating Market will incorporate the Biomimetic glass”.

The founders of Biomimetic: Andreas Lemonis,  Alexandros Mimidis,  Antonis Papadopoulos, Emmanuel Stratakis and Evangelos Skoulas.

 “We are particularly proud that an innovative technology developed at IESL is now finding its way to Society”, said Prof. Spiros Anastasiadis, Director of IESL, stressing: “This innovative technology was based on long-term, high-quality, basic and applied research conducted in the laboratories of the Laser Interaction and Photonics Division of IESL, mainly funded by competitive research grants. All the people involved in the research were guided by the principles of excellence in all their steps; these principles are the beacon of our research course all along. We expect that high quality research at IESL will lead to additional innovations that will respond to the ever-increasing challenges facing society today”.

Dr. Alexandros Eleftheriadis, a Partner at Big Pi Ventures, which provided the investment, added: “We are very excited to support the commercial development of such groundbreaking technology. Biomimetic can transform displays of portable devices allowing their usage in a much wider range of environmental conditions. We are double excited because this technology was developed at a research institution, serving as a great example of bridging academic research and commercial product development”.

The headquarters of the company are located in the Science and Technology Park of Crete, located at the Heraklion Campus of FORTH, in a specially designed space where the equipment for the production of anti-reflective glass has already been installed.