Novel Electrochromic Device Controlled by Sunlight

APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:

'Smart' windows Photochromic ophthalmic lenses Tunable neutral density filters Photosensitive mirrors Displays Light detectors Optical switches Light-intensity meters Near-UV radiation detectors Low-cost optical computer memories

ADVANTAGES:

Uses inexpensive components Simplier construction than competing solutions Reacts in sunlight

ABSTRACT:

Frank McLarnon and Robert Kostecki at Berkeley Lab have designed a two-component electrode, fabricated with titanium and nickel oxides, reacts to both light and electricity. Direct exposure to natural sunlight transforms exposed areas of the electrode from transparent to gray. Nonuniform illumination produces patterned optical states that can be stored or erased using optical read/write capability. Berkeley Lab's new electrode is ideal for 'smart windows' that can use either an external power source or incident sunlight to modify light transmission. Other potential applications include photochromic ophthalmic lenses; tunable neutral density filters; photosensitive mirrors, displays, light detectors, optical switches, light-intensity meters, near-UV radiation detectors, and low-cost optical computer memories. Use of inexpensive components combined with simple construction (only 3 layers compared to 5 in competing electrodes) widens the applicability of such devices, and significantly reduces the cost, compared with related technologies.

Patents:
US 6,118,572

Inventor(s): Frank McLarnon and Robert Kostecki

Type of Offer: Licensing



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