DOE Unveils Transparent Coating to Control Heat

September 22nd, 2011 by Editor

A new semiconductor nanocrystal coating has been introduced by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The coating can control who much heat is passing through while remaining transparent.

“To have a transparent electrochromic material that can change its transmittance in the infrared portion of sunlight is completely unprecedented,” says Delia Milliron, director of the Inorganic Nanostructures Facility with Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry, who led this research. “What’s more, the coloration efficiency of our material—a figure of merit describing the amount of current needed to make this thing go—is substantially higher than standard electrochromic materials, which means it’s also very efficient.”

The nanocrystal film uses “electrically doped indium tin oxide” to create this new coating. The technology allows consumer to control how much infrared radiation is coming through a piece of glass.

“Traditional electrochromic windows cannot selectively control the amount of visible and near infrared light that transmits through the film. When operated, these windows can either block both regions of light or let them in simultaneously,” says Guillermo Garcia, a graduate student researcher at the Foundry. “This work represents a stepping stone to the ideal smart window, which would be able to selectively choose which region of sunlight is needed to optimize the temperature inside a building.”

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