With increase in global warming, use of active cooling and heating devices are continuously increasing to maintain interior temperature of built environment, greenhouses and cars. To reduce the consumption of tremendous amount of energy on cooling and heating devices we need an improved control of transparent features (i.e. windows). In this respect, smart window which is capable for reflecting solar infrared energy without interfering with the visible light would be very attractive.
Most of the technologies developed so far are to control the visible light. These technologies block visual contact to the outside world which cause negative effects on human health. An appealing method to selectively control infrared transmission is via utilizing the reflection properties of cholesteric liquid crystals. In our research, we have fabricated a smart window which is capable of reflecting different amount of solar infrared energy depending on the specific climate conditions. The reflection bandwidth can be tuned from 120 nm to 1100 nm in the infrared region without interfering with the visible solar radiations. Calculations reveal that between 8% and 45% of incident solar infrared light can be reflected with a single cell. Simulation studies predicted that more than 12% of the energy spent on heating, cooling and lighting in the built environment can be saved by using the fabricated smart window compared to standard double glazing window.
There has been a huge increase in the global demand of energy over the last few years. One of the main contributors to energy consumption in buildings, cars, greenhouses and indoor spaces is the cooling devices needed to maintain the indoor temperature at comfortable levels. To reduce the energy used by cooling devices, we need improved light control in transparent building elements, such as windows. Infrared (IR) reflectors applied to the windows for rejection of infrared light would be very attractive, especially if they do not affect light in the visible region. A method to selectively and precisely control infrared transmission is via the use of cholesteric liquid crystal (Ch-LC) polymer reflectors. Ch-LCs, also known as chiral-nematic LCs, reflect circularly polarized light as a result of their self-organizing molecular helices. The pitch of the helix in these networks determines the wavelength of reflection. In contrast to existing alternatives, they are characterized by a very sharp cut-off between the transmissive and the reflective state enabling exact tailoring of the heat reflection. In this article we have focused on fabrication of infrared reflectors using Ch-LCs and a computational model was used to predict the energy savings of this IR-reflector in an office building in Abu Dhabi which indicated that 6 % energy savings can be realized.