Recently, researchers from ETH Zurich in Switzerland developed a solar-activated nanoscale-thick coating with the unique ability to absorb sunlight from glass without affecting transparency, making it perfect for defrosting windows.
A paper describing the new ETH Zurich work, titled “Metasurfaces Leveraging Solar Energy for Icephobicity,” was recently published in the journal ACS Nano.
The coating is made from two materials, gold and titanium dioxide, which when combined into a certain thickness, can absorb sunlight and remove or prevent frost from developing on a variety of commercially important substrates, including glass and acrylics.
Researchers are now looking for ways to refine the ultra-thin absorbent nanocoating so it can be cost-effective to mass-produce for commercial materials. New designs aim to achieve more transparency or a higher temperature increase.
This kind of technology could have a significant impact on the future development of windshields, automobiles, aviation, renewable energy generation, and infrastructure. Current de-icing and anti-icing applications rely upon on-site electrical heat generation, chemicals, or mechanical removal. These applications often come with drawbacks, such as financial costs and environmental incompatibility.
However, metasurfaces with embedded plasmonically enhanced light absorption heating with ultrathin hybrid metal-dielectric transparent coatings offer an environmentally compatible solution. Produced on a large scale, cost-effectively, this technology could revolutionize various industries.
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