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Smart window

Sun-smart window

Illustration of film coating on glass, demonstrating the privacy mode

University of Cincinnati (UC) Illustration of film coating on glass, demonstrating the privacy modeUniversity of Cincinnati (UC)

To make a home or office more private, or to stop excess sunlight from entering these environments, the usual solution is to put up curtains, an accessory that could be eliminated if a certain new technology reaches the market – more specifically, the technology developed at the University of Cincinnati, in the United States, in partnership with the National Taiwan University and two companies (HP and EMD Merck). The researchers developed an electronic film that can halt the passage of up to 90% of incoming sunlight and can also make the glass completely opaque for privacy, when needed. The sun’s heat can also be controlled by letting the light in during winter and blocking it in summer. Room occupants can control luminosity and transparency by adjusting the passage of light to varying levels. The electronic film can be applied to new or already installed windows and, according to the researchers, the entire structure required costs roughly $333 per square meter. The study, funded in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF), in the United States, was published in Applied Optics on June 10, 2015. It was coordinated by Jason Heikenfeld, who has already filed for a patent on the invention. Heikenfeld works in the new devices laboratory at the UC College of Engineering and Applied Science, a traditional center for studies on the use of color, brightness, and speed, as well as in exposure of images on electronic displays. The technology used in the film is based on hexagons made of conductive polymers, measuring 500 micrometers on each side, forming a beehive-like structure.