Transparent Coating: Make Smart Windows Cheaper

Transparent Coating: Make Smart Windows Cheaper

Background

Nowadays, transparent electrodes have been widely used in information display, solid state lighting, solar cells, electronic skin and a series of fields. Transparent electrodes combine the best properties of glass and metal in a single element, creating a highly conductive transparent coating that allows visible light to pass through. These coatings are key components in a range of technologies, including smart Windows, touch-screen displays, LED lighting and solar panels. However, current standard solutions for making transparent electrodes are based on indium, a rare and expensive element, and a cumbersome, slow and expensive vacuum deposition process. This makes transparent electrodes an important cost in the production of optoelectronic devices.

Technology and Innovation

In a new study published in Advanced Materials Interface, researchers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia used a much cheaper material, tin dioxide, to make a transparent electrode, and mixed it with a special combination of chemicals to improve conductivity and transparency. The ultra-thin transparent coating, which is more than 100 times thinner than a human hair, allows only visible light to pass through and blocks heat in the form of harmful ultraviolet and infrared radiation. Not only is the coating ultra-thin, but it also saves money and performs as well as transparent electrodes that meet current industry standards. This new method of spraying is fast, scalable and based on cheaper off-the-shelf materials. The method simplifies the manufacture of smart Windows and low-radiation glass. Smart Windows save energy and adjust light, while low-radiation glass minimizes ultraviolet and infrared rays by coating traditional glass panels with a special coating. Lead researcher Dr Enrico Della Gaspera said the pioneering solution could be used to significantly reduce the cost of energy-efficient Windows and had the potential to make them a standard part of new and renovated buildings.

Market

 The global market for smart glass and smart Windows is expected to reach $6.9 billion in 2022, while the global market for low-radiation glass is estimated to reach $39.4 billion in 2024. New York's Empire State Building says it has saved $2.4 million in energy and 4,000 metric tons of carbon emissions by installing smart Windows. Eureka Tower in Melbourne USES smart glass in its Edge tourist attraction. A glass cube extends three metres out of the building, allowing visitors to stay up to 300 metres above the city. The glass is opaque when the cube moves away from the edges of the building, but becomes transparent once it has completely moved out of the building.

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