Modern optical applications need solutions for providing polymer surfaces with antireflective properties. The problems involved in coating comprise thermal limitations, incompatible mechanical properties of coating and substrate materials, and interaction between polymers and plasma. As an alternative for coating, antireflective properties on polymers can also be obtained by hot embossing or by ion etching of surface structures. My objective is to provide the criteria for choosing suitable deposition or structuring methods based on an understanding of plasma-, radiation-, and ion-induced surface phenomena; material compatibility; mechanical and environmental performance; and cost issues. The potential to produce antireflective interference coatings is documented for plasma-enhanced physical- and chemical-vapor-deposition methods, including modern hybrid techniques, as well as for solgel wet-chemical processes. The review about state-of-the-art coatings focuses on the thermoplastic acrylic, polycarbonate, and cycloolefin polymers.
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