This disclosure describes materials that can be utilized to create a low refractive index layer that enables total internal reflection (TIR) while providing favorable mechanical properties. The coating materials described herein can achieve low modulus films with a refractive index below 1.40 while exhibiting good adhesion to rigid substrates. The substrate, e.g., glass, can be coated with a suitable low refractive index (LRI) composite. Per techniques of this disclosure, the composite materials can include combinations of hollow silica spheres with LRI materials such as siloxane resin, fluorinated acrylate resin, fluorinated epoxy resin, and fluorinated siloxane, respectively. The waveguides are suitable for use in devices such as augmented reality or virtual reality headsets.

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