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bionic surface technologies And Nikon Corporation Announce Joint Development Agreement

The company bionic surface technologies GmbH (BST) announce together with the well-known Nikon Corporation (Nikon) a research and development partnership innovating Riblet technologies.
Graz, Austria. bionic surface technologies and Nikon Corporation, a global pioneer in the markets for optical technologies since 1917 and best known for their products in photography, announce a Joint Development Agreement to advance the research and development of innovative Riblet technologies for a wide variety of applications.

Riblets are specially manufactured surface structures, only a few micro- or nanometers in size, whose origin lies in nature itself and has evolved over millions of years: sharks have fine grooves on their skin, the Riblets, which allow them quick and energy-efficient movement. (This is why it is called Shark Skin Effect instead of Riblet Effect sometimes, note) In technical applications – for example aviation, sports or wind turbines – the implementation of Riblets on flow-relevant points results in considerable advantages over smooth surfaces, such as increased efficiency, lower fuel consumption or a lower noise level. This leads to a sustainable reduction in the ecological footprint.

The cooperation between Nikon and BST makes it now possible to combine their extensive expertise and use it for Riblets; the aim of this agreement is to research the optimal pitch, shape and placement of this surface structure and offer it to customers. For this purpose, Nikon provides its specially developed and precision-controlled free-form laser patterning.

Thanks to many years of experience in fluid mechanics and bionic surfaces, BST is able to use Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to calculate the optimal Riblet design for any application and thus achieve the most advantages for the medium to which Riblets are applied. Nikon then leverages its 40 years of expertise in semiconductor lithography and advanced metrology to enable high-precision free-form laser patterning to apply the CFD-optimized Riblet design in any pitch, dimension or orientation. The company is currently processing Riblets at Sendai Nikon Corporation in Japan, using its specially developed Riblet processing tool, which has been fully operational for some time. Nikon already have proven the unique processing tool for Riblets in several applications – most recently in an evaluation conducted using a gas turbine test unit.

This development agreement with BST is another key component of our Next Generation Project program to drive the industrialization of digital manufacturing. BST Riblet technology perfectly complements Nikon precision patterning capabilities, and BST’s vision for enhancing systems’ efficiency and conserving energy aligns well with our commitment to continually creating value in novel fields and solving societal challenges”, sags Yuichi Shibazaki, Nikon Corporate Vice President and General Manger of the Next Generation Project Division.

Peter Adrian Leitl, Co-Founder and CEO/CTO of bionic surface technologies, is particularly delighted: “The collaboration with Nikon gives [us] the possibility to develop Riblet structures for applications where direct in-material processing is needed. Additionally, the development of new, unique and higher-efficiency Riblet structures will be possible in the future.

The combination of Nikon laser technology and BST know-how brings us to a new stage in the usage of Riblet application. This brings these nature-based features to nearly all relevant applications and industries, and therefore provides critical technology to support worldwide climate goals.”, explains Andreas Flanschger, Co-Founder and CEO of bionic surface technologies.

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