A new research revealed that color palette can be expanded for glass windows and change its colors at a flick on the electric switch. In the journal ACS Nano, the researchers reportedly used an inexpensive hydrocarbon molecule called perylene in the creation of glass that can change into two different colors at low voltage.
The color of glass can change from clear to vivid when charges are placed on molecules and when charges are removed from them. According to Naomi Salas, the director of the Laboratory for Nanophotonics at Rice University, the molecules are sandwiched between glasses to be able to make them look like a window but it will change colors depending on how low voltage is applied.
Adam Lauchner, a graduate student of applied physics at Rice University, color-changing glass has colors that are polarity-dependent meaning that a positive voltage can produce one color while a negative voltage can produce a different color. Most color-changing glass only has one color and multicolor varieties require significant voltage.
Glass that changes its colors through the application of voltage is called electrochromic. There is a growing demand for electrochromic glass because of its light and heat blocking properties. Based on projections, the annual market for electrochromic glass by 2020 will be more than $2.5 billion.
In their experiments, the researchers discovered that if they apply 4 volts, it is enough to turn the window glass to a greenish-yellow color. When they applied 3.5 volts, the color turned to blue. It takes a few minutes for glass to change colors but the transition time could be improved through further engineering.
However, there are also challenges for the electrochromic device industry when the window has to be made clear in one state and completely dark in another stage. It seems that a combination of PAH’s that captured no visible light at zero volts and almost all visible light at low voltage has been found.
Readymade glass is available in industry standard sizes but if you want custom fit sizes, there is window glass cut to size available while you wait. If you need glass replacements, there is a wide range of choices that are available for order.