Nanocrystal-studded windows could keep unwanted heat and light out, saving money


The same stuff that makes iPhone (s aapl) screens touch sensitive could lead to more efficient windows. Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed nanocrystal-studded glass (subscription required) that can filter out visible and heat-producing light, allowing tighter control over how much heat and light can enter a building.

The “smart windows” are coated in a thin layer of crystals made from indium tin oxide — a transparent semiconductor commonly used on plasma, e-ink and touch-sensitive screens. The crystals are embedded in a glassy substance, resulting in a totally new material that can absorb up to 50 percent of the heat and 70 percent of the visible light that passes through it. The window would appear darker the more light it is set to filter out.

Smart window glass

“In the U.S., we spend about a quarter of our total energy on lighting, heating and cooling our buildings,” research lead Delia Milliron said

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