Demands for increased energy efficiency by Europe and the world, due to rising energy costs, have drastically accelerated the need for intelligent technology solutions that promote energy conservation and reduce unnecessary emissions. For instance, from the automotive and transportation industry to military applications, growing concerns about, e.g. pronounced heat island effects, have lead to the demand for solar heat management solutions based on novel materials systems. Since heat is most often a direct consequence of infrared radiation incident on an object, with the heat-producing region being between 750 – 1200 nm, one obvious strategy to reduce heat is the deployment of IR high reflecting coatings. As a practical requirement, these coatings must retain high transparency over the visible wavelength regime and, ideally, not interfere with the operation of electronic devices by, e.g. blocking the radio waves needed for data transfer to operate cell phones and global positioning systems (GPS). In fact, if intelligently designed, these coatings can even enhance the light in- or out-coupling for existing and next-generation electronic devices, further improving device performance. In this project, new solution-processable near-IR and IR reflective coatings and mirrors (e.g. SPIRCAM) will be developed. These coatings and mirrors, which consist of novel organic-inorganic hybrid materials, will provide improved heat and light management due to their excellent near-IR (NIR)/IR reflectivity, high transparency in the UV-Visible regime, and their tunable index of refraction (n). This work will aim to contribute to new knowledge regarding the development of next-generation advanced materials for real-world applications.
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