Smart windows, that are transparent when it’s dark or cool but automatically darken when the sun is too bright, are increasingly popular energy-saving devices. But imagine the efficiency if these windows not only transition from light to dark but also simultaneously produce electricity.
This kind of photovoltaic glass that is also reversibly thermochromic, is exactly what a team of researchers are working on in the lab of Professor of Chemistry Peidong Yang. The lead authors, Jia Lin, Minliang Lai, and Letian Dou, recently published results in the journal Nature Materials in a study entitled “Thermochromic Halide Perovskite Solar Cells.”
The scientists made the discovery while investigating the phase transition of the material, an inorganic perovskite. “This class of inorganic halide perovskite has amazing phase transition chemistry. It can essentially change from one crystal structure to another when we slightly change the temperature or introduce a little water vapor,” Yang said.