Blinds, curtains, drapes – they ‘re all so 20th century, folks. If you really want to keep the sun out of your place of residence on a hot summer’s day, you’ve got to use some electrochromic window tinting techniques. These specialized windows will darken automatically when it becomes hot by sending an electric current through the glass to give it a negative charge. Then, positive ions rush in to balance things out and the whole window tints. Pretty sweet, right?
This technology has been on the market for a few years now and can also be seen in other capacities, such as auto-tinted glasses. And while it’s super cool and neat, the one complaint generally levied against it for home use is that the change does happen rather slowly, since the ions involved don’t match the speed of the electrons.
In response, a team at MIT is developing a thin film material that will theoretically make the tinting process happen instantaneously. To do so, they’re introducing metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), a film that is made up of an organic material and salt. With these two chemical compounds working together, MOFs can conduct ions and electrons quickly and since no energy current is needed for the window to remain dark after the change, the system is vastly more energy efficient as well.
Another advantage is that the new process can make the window turn darker than it ever was able to before. The MIT team is using a combination of green and red colours that allow the material to be able to oscillate between transparent and almost completely black. “These could lead to pretty significant energy savings,” explained MIT professor of chemistry Mircea Dincă. “You could just flip a switch when the sun shines through the window and turn it dark.”
The research team is currently planning to create a one-inch sample for demonstrations so that the project can gain more funding to move forward.
Source: New Atlas
Image Source: New Atlas