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Publication Detail
A Combined Experimental and Theoretical Study into the Performance of Multilayer Vanadium Dioxide Nanocomposites for Energy Saving Applications
In the built environment there is a increasing issue of heat management, with buildings expending significant energy resources to maintain comfortable living temperatures. In many parts of the world, this entails the use of both heating and cooling during daylight hours depending on ambient temperatures. Due to the variation in the desired temperature control classical solutions can become counter productive in their aim of maintaining comfortable temperatures, therefore it is important to employ adaptive solutions that vary their functionality based on circumstance. In recent years vanadium dioxide (VO2) has generated a broad range of interest due to its heat-mediated structural phase transition from a semiconductor to a metal, which occurs at a critical temperature that may be tuned via doping. The phase transition of VO2 significantly modulates its optical properties, with the high temperature metallic state absorbing and reflecting considerably more infrared radiation than the lower temperature monoclinic state due to the presence of free electrons; a window coated with a VO2 film may passively vary its transmission of infrared radiation based on the ambient temperature, in doing so reducing the temperature management energy-load. Here, we present a theoretically optimised design for a thermochromic smart window film based on a multilayer stack of silica, titania and vanadium dioxide (VO2) on a glass substrate and use the simulations to guide the fabrication process. The design makes use of coherent interference within the multi-layered structure to suppress reflection of visible light and improve the reflective component of solar modulation. In doing so, we are able simultaneously improve the visible transmission and solar modulation of the film above what would be possible with a single layer film. Additionally, the use of thin film VO2 also acts to reduce the detrimental transition hysteresis typically seen in small domain sized nanoparticulate VO2 films. The multilayer structure is fabricated via spin coating of sol-gel based precursors and subsequent annealing. After which the structure is optically characterised and results are compared with simulation along with standard single layer VO2 films and other nanoparticulate based VO2 films.
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