As buildings are a large energy user, it is important to not only reduce their consumption, but also have them generate their own electricity. Here, we describe a smart window that could reduce electricity consumption, normally used for air conditioning and lighting, by absorbing excess solar radiation with dichroic fluorescent dye molecules aligned in a switchable liquid crystal host and guiding the re-emitted light energy to the edges of the device, where it can be used to generate electricity via attached photovoltaic cells. The liquid crystals are responsive both to temperature changes and applied electrical fields. At higher temperatures, transmission decreases due to increased disorder in the liquid crystals, while the application of an electrical field increases transmission by effectively realigning the dyes for minimal absorption. Using alternative configurations, a window with a transparent rest state was also produced, in which transmission can be decreased by applying an electrical field; the thermal response remains identical.
Bibliographical note(This article belongs to the Special Issue Luminescent Solar Concentrator Photovoltaics)
- Dichroic dye
- Electrical switching
- Liquid crystal
- Luminescent solar concentrator (LSC)
- Smart window
- Thermal switching