Researchers are developing ultra-thin optical coatings that could significantly extend the lifespan of solar panels and improve areas such as data storage or protection against counterfeiting.
Innovative optical coatings
The physics professor Giuseppe Strangi of theCase Western Reserve University leads a research group that develops these new optical coatings. These coatings, as thin as a few atomic layers, can simultaneously transmit and reflect narrow-band light with unmatched vibrancy and color purity.
Professor Strangi comments: “ They act as highly selective transparent windows and reflective mirrors, and this precision allows us to manipulate the appearance of the reflected light. »
Extend the life of solar panels
The most promising application for these new optical coatings is extending the life of solar panels. Solar panels generally have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years.
Sunlight provides energy but also heats the panel, reducing its short-term efficiency and long-term durability by degrading the materials. Giuseppe Strangi explains that the coatings separate the two bands of light, one photovoltaic and the other thermal. They make it possible to increase energy production in the short term and multiply the lifespan of the panel sixfold.
The research group, which includes physics professor Michael Hinczewski and collaborators from MIT, the University of Arizona and the University of Rochester, is also working with industry partners in the United States and Finland to explore the possibility of developing this technology on a larger scale.
Other possible applications
Other applications of this research are varied: advances in “ structural coloring » would improve computer display technologies, increase data storage, strengthen anti-counterfeiting measures and even allow more variations in decoration, according to Strangi.
Researchers are developing ultra-thin optical coatings that could significantly extend the lifespan of solar panels and offer improvements in areas such as data storage and anti-counterfeiting protection. These innovative coatings could also impact computer display technologies and anti-counterfeiting measures, paving the way for new applications and technological advancements in various sectors.
For a better understanding
1. What are ultra-thin optical coatings?
Ultrathin optical coatings are layers of materials as thin as a few atomic layers, capable of simultaneously transmitting and reflecting narrow-band light with unparalleled vibrancy and color purity.
The ultra-thin optical coatings separate the two bands of light, one photovoltaic and the other thermal, making it possible to increase short-term energy production and increase the lifespan of the solar panel sixfold.
3. Who are the researchers involved in this project?
Physics professor Giuseppe Strangi of Case Western Reserve University leads a research group including physics professor Michael Hinczewski and collaborators from MIT, the University of Arizona and the University of Rochester.
4. What are the other possible applications of these optical coatings?
Other applications include improving computer display technologies, increasing data storage, strengthening anti-counterfeiting measures, and allowing for more variations in decoration.
The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications. This recent work builds on the group’s initial results, published in 2021 in Nature Nanotechnologyon what they called the “Fano resonant optical coatings“.
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