Applications of the Anti-reflection
Anti-reflective coatings are used in a wide variety of applications where light passes through an optical surface, and low loss or low reflection is desired. Examples include anti-glare coatings on corrective lenses and camera lens elements, and anti reflective coatings on solar cells.
Opticians may recommend "anti-reflection lenses" because the decreased reflection enhances the cosmetic appearance of the lenses. Such lenses are often said to reduce glare, but the reduction is very slight. Eliminating reflections allows slightly more light to pass through, producing a slight increase in contrast and visual acuity.
Anti reflective ophthalmic lenses should not be confused with polarized lenses, which decrease (by absorption) the visible glare of sun reflected off surfaces such as sand, water, and roads. The term "anti reflective" relates to the reflection from the surface of the lens itself, not the origin of the light that reaches the lens.
Many anti-reflection lenses include an additional coating that repels water and grease, making them easier to keep clean. Anti-reflection coatings are particularly suited to high-index lenses, as these reflect more light without the coating than a lower-index lens (a consequence of the Fresnel equations). It is also generally easier and cheaper to coat high index lenses.
Anti reflective coatings are often used in microelectronic photo lithography to help reduce image distortions associated with reflections off the surface of the substrate. Different types of anti reflective coatings are applied either before or after the photoresist, and help reduce standing waves, thin-film interference, and specular reflections.