Solar smart windows make rooms opaque and private when it’s bright out and become transparent when it’s cloudy. This helps control the room’s temperature. But the technology has its shortcomings. For example, what if you want a little privacy on a cloudy day? Or if you just want a transparent window to enjoy gorgeous, sunny weather?
The American Chemical Society is hard at work on an answer: an even smarter solar smart window, one that could offer privacy and light control on demand, at the user’s discretion.
“The researchers created a new smart window by sandwiching a polymer matrix containing microdroplets of liquid crystal materials, and an amorphous silicon layer — the type often used in solar cells — between two glass panes. When the window is “off,” the liquid crystals scatter light, making the glass opaque. The silicon layer absorbs the light and provides the low power needed to align the crystals so light can pass through and make the window transparent when the window is turned “on” by the user. The extra energy that doesn’t go toward operating the window is harvested and could be redirected to power other devices, such as lights, TVs or smartphones, the researchers say.”
So not only can the windows continue to save energy, they can actually produce it for other devices in the home.
We’re excited to hear more about this solar advancement. If you’re as curious as we are, read the full press release or watch the video below.