Electrochromic “Smart” Windows
Introduction Coatings for optical glass and vision products have been on the market for several decades. The older coatings change from transparent to colored under the effect of ultra-violet radiation. Newer coatings have been developed whose transparency can be changed electrically. But these inorganic coatings are slow to transition, costly to produce, and are limited to only a grey-blue color. Technology description Researchers at the University of Washington have developed polymer-based electrochromic materials which change color quickly (<2 seconds), are available in shades of blue, green or red, and can be produced inexpensively. In addition, the polymer materials retain their transparency or opacity when the electric field is removed, thus not requiring a continuous power source to maintain their transmittance. Business opportunity
“Smart Windows” which can be electrically activated by the flip of a switch have applications in the transportation industry (aircraft & automotive), in eyewear
(sunglasses, face shields, goggles), in interior decorating (patternable, colorchanging wallpaper, flat displays), and even in textiles (furniture, clothing that can change color to suit an individual’s preference or fashion. Stage of development Electrochromic materials have been under development at the UW for the past decade. Applications for color changing windows and eyewear have been demonstrated, and further work is continuing. Intellectual property position Several U.S. patents have issued, and additional U.S. and foreign patents are pending.
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