Coating small pieces of glass with extremely thin layers of metal like silver may make it possible to add advanced technologies to windowpanes and other glass objects that can then work as a giant thermostat or big screen TV, new research reveals.
"Engineers are constantly trying to expand the scope of materials that they can use for display technologies, and having thin, inexpensive, see-through components that conduct electricity will be huge," said Kenneth Chau, associate professor and lead investigator from University of British Columbia (UBC).
"I think one of the most important implications of this research is the potential to integrate electronic capabilities into windows and make them smart," he added.
The researchers will now try to incorporate their invention onto windows with an aim to selectively filter light and heat waves depending on the season or time of day.
"It's been known for quite a while that you could put glass on metal to make metal more transparent, but people have never put metal on top of glass to make glass more transparent," said collaborator Loic Markley, an assistant professor of engineering, at UBC.
"It's counter-intuitive to think that metal could be used to enhance light transmission, but we saw that this was actually possible, and our experiments are the first to prove it," Markley added in a university statement.