Smart Window Tints, Powers Itself
Take a look at this new self-tinting window; it requires no electricity to operate and even serves as a rechargeable battery.
(NTU smart window)
The trick to making the self-powered smart window is a new technology developed by Prof Sun's team from NTU's School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
"Our new smart electrochromic window is bi-functional; it is also a transparent battery," Prof Sun explained. "It charges up and turns blue when there is oxygen present in the electrolyte – in other words, it breathes."
The NTU smart window contains liquid electrolyte placed in between two glass sheets coated with indium tin oxide (ITO), commonly used as transparent conductive coatings for television displays. One sheet is coated with an additional layer of a pigment known as Prussian Blue and the other one is attached to a thin strip of aluminium foil. The Prussian Blue gives the glass a blue tint when it is fully charged.
The two glass sheets are connected by typical electrical cables. When the electrical circuit between them is broken, a chemical reaction starts between Prussian Blue and the dissolved oxygen in the electrolyte, turning the glass blue. To turn off the blue tint, the electrical circuit is closed to discharge the battery, turning the Prussian Blue into a colourless Prussian White.
I learned about this idea as the polawindows from Frank Herbert's 1972 novel The Godmakers:
Orne returned to his room to change for dinner, stopped at the polawindow, which he tuned to clear transmission.
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