Self-shading windows change from clear to dark in an instant

A 'self-shading' window that can change colour when exposed to electricity has been developed by researchers at MIT.  The window can switch from transparent to opaque, potentially saving energy by blocking sunlight on hot days and reducing air-conditioning costs. 

Electrochromic materials have been used before, for example on Boeing 787 windows get darker to prevent bright sunlight from glaring through the cabin. But the Boeing windows still take a few minutes to change.

The MIT team overcame that by using  sponge-like materials called metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), which can conduct both electrons and ions at very high speeds.  The is not the first time MOFs have been used but the MIT chemists were the first to harness them for their electrical and optic properties.

MIT professor of chemistry Mircea Dincă believes the technology has the potential to save energy by reducing the need for an air conditioner. “You could just flip a switch when the sun shines through the window, and turn it dark,” said Dincă,



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