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John O | January 2018

Passive solar windows provide extra heat during cold weather

a recent article from phys.org explained new research out of the university of gothenburg (sweden) that can transform ordinary windows into solar-powered heaters that raise the temperature of the window by nearly 15 degrees in cold weather using plasmonic nanoantennas.


the new technology heats up windows during cold weather.
(wikimedia commons)


the antennas are composed of nickel-aluminum oxide, in the shape of ellipses, and arrayed on the glass. the nanoantennas utilize electron oscillations to absorb light and, in the process, heat up the entire surface of the glass.


“in the new study the researchers demonstrated that, when sunlight shines on the surface, light is absorbed more efficiently from the front side (with the antennas) than the back side (the substrate),” the article explained. “this directionality in light absorption makes the surfaces attractive for window applications, as sunlight can be absorbed most efficiently from the outside of the window. in addition, the surfaces are highly transparent, appear colorless, and almost completely preserve the color spectrum of sunlight.”


this technology has the potential to provide considerable cost savings for homeowners and businesses that regularly have to increase the temperature of rooms or offices to make up for the heat being conducted out of windows.


in addition, researchers see this advance benefitting other industries, such as radiative cooling and solar-powered thermal isolation.

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