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Dial Up Privacy & Light With Tunable Window Tintings

Tim Zarki
University of Cincinnati
Rendering of 'tunable' window tintings which can still let light in but maintain privacy.

The University of Cincinnati calls its research on smart windows which simultaneously controls shade and privacy electronically at a low-cost "breakthrough." 

The patent-pending research from UC and its partners, Hewlett Packard and EMD/Merck Research Labs, is a roll-on coating made up of a honeycomb of electrodes.


The research was led by Sayantika Mukherjee, doctoral student in UC's Novel Devices Laboratory, part of the university's College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Mukherjee explains, “Basically, one color has one charge. Another color has another charge, and we apply voltage to repel or attract the colors into different positions. The basic technology is not that different from what our group has previously demonstrated before in electronic display devices. The greater challenge was to apply the technology to the larger surface area of a window in a way that was inexpensive and fairly easy."

Researchers say the technology can be integrated into new windows or easily applied to existing windows

The National Science Foundation is funding the research and details are in the June issue of the trade journal, "Applied Optics."