Scientists Have Taken Another Important Step in the Development of Smart Windows

Press Release Achievements Science

A team headed by Prof. Jaroslav Vlček from the NTIS Research Centre has taken a significant step in the development of windows that can control the passage of heat depending on the outside temperature.

Scientists were the first in the world to successfully create a thin layer of vanadium dioxide over a large ultra-thin glass film measuring 0.3 × 4 meters.


Smart windows are based on a thermochromic effect, which is ensured by a very thin layer (approx. 400 nanometers) of one type of vanadium dioxide with a specific structure. Based on the temperature, the material changes its properties and reflects the infrared radiation. As a result, the windows are metaphorically closed to the thermal spectrum of solar radiation and are able to maintain thermal comfort in a building. This could significantly reduce air conditioning costs in the future.


However, there are many pitfalls in the industrial production of smart windows with vanadium dioxide. The team of Pilsen scientists managed to solve one of the problems, specifically the method of the preparation of the thermochromic thin film in a large deposition device. The vanadium dioxide layer was created on a 0.3 x 4 metres ultra-thin glass film with a thickness of 100 micrometers (a little more than a human hair). This step significantly contributes to the future industrial production of smart windows.


The successful implementation was carried out in the laboratories of the Fraunhofer Institute in Dresden (FhG) as part of the participation of Jaroslav Vlček's team in the European research project Switch2Save, which deals with energy savings related to air conditioning, including the application of thermochromic layers on building windows. Researchers from the University of West Bohemia were invited to participate in the project based on the research results of thermochromic coatings, which they published in prestigious foreign journals. They presented their success at the Switch2Save meeting, which took place at the beginning of November on the premises of the Faculty of Applied Sciences.


"I am delighted that our eight-year research activities brought success. Our efforts were appreciated by our project partners, especially by the representatives of the Fraunhofer Institute, where we successfully applied our know-how," says Jaroslav Vlček. The Switch2Save research project, which addresses the highly attractive and societally important topic of energy saving through advanced surface treatment of windows, brings together nine partners across the European Union. In addition to the coordinating Fraunhofer Institute, the project unites universities (the University of West Bohemia and the National University of Technology in Athens), technology companies, and institutions, such as the second largest hospital in Greece, Agios Panteleimon. The windows will be tested in the Greek hospital. By the end of September 2023, a total of 56 window panes and balcony doors will be installed in the paediatric and intensive care buildings.


The FAS team will face another task - to improve the optical properties of the material, especially light transmission and colou

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The team.

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