A Korean research team has successfully developed a way to change the transparency and color of glass in accordance with its surroundings.
The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) announced on Dec. 11 that its research team has succeeded in the development of a tech to change the transparency of glass in just 0.1 seconds using electricity. The technique involves coating an 8 nano-particle structure with electrochromic materials.
Nano-particle structures are small but wide compared to their bulk, and thus it is possible to attach more electrochromic materials to the surface of the structure. It is also possible to change colors very fast, since the traveling distance of ions is short when the color is changed. Hence, it can change colors in just 0.1 seconds, unlike existing commercialized products, which take a few seconds or minutes to change.
This method can prevent people from being momentarily dazzled by headlights from a car behind them by darkening the rear-view mirror up to 90 percent. It can also be useful when a car suddenly passes through a tunnel. In particular, it can control the amount of sunlight that comes through the window. Ultimately, it can be used to make windows that efficiently manage energy.
The tech can also be used for the optical shutters necessary for transparent displays. The research team has already developed black and blue-colored electrochromic materials, and is planning to develop red and green ones.
To solve problems related to color-changing speeds and deteriorating colors, they are going to widen the surface space of the electrochromic materials and make them into a film through a gel-making process, instead of using liquid electrolytes.
Ryu Ho-joon, a researcher from the Smart I/O Platform Research Department at ETRI remarked, “We will try hard to advance the technology that can display information by inserting letters into windows.” He concluded by saying, “The method could be used in not only energy-saving optical shutters but also cars, airplanes, and ships, since information can be preserved when the power is off. Moreover, only 3 volts or less are required to operate.”