Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Window


Materials with switchable absorption properties have been widely used for smart window applications to reduce energy consumption and enhance occupant comfort in buildings. In this work, we combine the benefits of smart windows with energy conversion by producing a photovoltaic device with a switchable absorber layer that dynamically responds to sunlight. Upon illumination, photothermal heating switches the absorber layer-composed of a metal halide perovskite-methylamine complex-from a transparent state (68% visible transmittance) to an absorbing, photovoltaic colored state (less than 3% visible transmittance) due to dissociation of methylamine. After cooling, the methylamine complex is re-formed, returning the absorber layer to the transparent state in which the device acts as a window to visible light. The thermodynamics of switching and performance of the device are described. This work validates a photovoltaic window technology that circumvents the fundamental tradeoff between efficient solar conversion and high visible light transmittance that limits conventional semitransparent PV window designs.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Energy, Optics, Light, Photovoltaics, Window, Absorbance, Transmittance


Graphene emerges as a viable material for optoelectronics because of its broad optical response and gate-tunable properties. For practical applications, however, single layer graphene has performance limits due to its small optical absorption defined by fundamental constants. Here, we demonstrated a new class of flexible electrochromic devices using multilayer graphene (MLG) which simultaneously offers all key requirements for practical applications; high-contrast optical modulation over a broad spectrum, good electrical conductivity and mechanical flexibility. Our method relies on electro-modulation of interband transition of MLG via intercalation of ions into the graphene layers. The electrical and optical characterizations reveal the key features of the intercalation process which yields broadband optical modulation up to 55 per cent in the visible and near-infrared. We illustrate the promises of the method by fabricating reflective/transmissive electrochromic devices and multi-pixel display devices. Simplicity of the device architecture and its compatibility with the roll-to-roll fabrication processes, would find wide range of applications including smart windows and display devices. We anticipate that this work provides a significant step in realization of graphene based optoelectronics.

Concepts: Photon, Electromagnetic radiation, Solar cell, Electrical conductivity, Window, Electrochromism, Windows, Smart glass


A self-powered electrochromic smart window with tunable transmittance driven by dye-sensitized solar cells has been designed, which also acts as a photocharged electrochromic supercapacitor with high areal capacitance and reversible color changes.

Concepts: Energy, Solar cell, Energy conversion, Dye-sensitized solar cell, Thin film solar cell, Window, Windows, Smart glass


Geometrical and material property changes cause deviations in the resonant conditions used for noncollinear wave mixing. These deviations are predicted and observed using the SV(ω1)+L(ω2)→L(ω1+ω2) interaction, where SV and L are the shear vertical and longitudinal waves, respectively, and ω1, ω2 are their frequencies. Numerical predictions, performed for the scattered secondary field in the far field zone, show three field features of imperfect resonance conditions: (1) rotation of a scattered beam, (2) decrease in the beam amplitude, and (3) beam splitting. The response of the nonlinear ultrasonic wave mixing technique is verified experimentally in two ways: (1) detection of a kissing bond between two polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plates, and (2) detection of subsurface micro-cracks in polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). A predominant decrease in nonlinear wave energy is observed in both experiments. Beam rotation and splitting is observed in the kissing-bond experiment, while a minor increase in the nonlinear wave energy up to 100% is observed in the micro-cracked PMMA specimen.

Concepts: Causality, Fundamental physics concepts, Electromagnetic radiation, Wave, Frequency, Sound, Waves, Window


Photovoltachromic cells (PVCCs) are of great interest for the self-powered smart windows of architectures and vehicles, which require widely tunable transmittance and automatic color change under photo-stimuli. Organolead halide perovskite pocesses high light absorption coefficient and enables thin and semitransparent photovolatic device. In this work, we demonstrate co-anode and co-cathode photovoltachromic supercapacitors (PVCSs) by vertically integrating a perovskite solar cell (PSC) with MoO3/Au/MoO3 transparent electrode and electrochromic supercapacitor. The PVCSs provide a seamless integration of energy harvesting/storage device, automatic and wide color tunability and enhanced photo-stability of PSCs. Compared with conventional PVCC, the counter electrodes of our PVCSs provide sufficient balance charge, eliminate the necessity of reverse bias for bleaching the device, and realize reasonable in-situ energy storage. The color states of PVCSs not only indicate the amount of energy stored and energy consumed in real time, but also enhance the photo-stability of photovoltaic component by preventing its long-time photo-exposure under fully charged state of PVCSs. This work designs a new type PVCS for multifunctional smart window applications commonly made of glass.

Concepts: Photon, Light, Solar cell, Absorption, Diode, Window, Electrochromism, Smart glass


Pedicle screws with polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) cement augmentation have been shown to significantly improve the fixation strength in a severely osteoporotic spine. However, the efficacy of screw fixation for different cement augmentation techniques remains unknown. This study aimed to determine the difference in pullout strength between different cement augmentation techniques. Uniform synthetic bones simulating severe osteoporosis were used to provide a platform for each augmentation technique. In all cases a polyaxial screw and acrylic cement (PMMA) at medium viscosity were used. Five groups were analyzed: I) only screw without PMMA (control group); II) retrograde cement pre-filling of the tapped area; III) cannulated and fenestrate screw with cement injection through perforation; IV) injection using a standard trocar of PMMA (vertebroplasty) and retrograde pre-filling of the tapped area; V) injection through a fenestrated trocar and retrograde pre-filling of the tapped area. Standard X-rays were taken in order to visualize cement distribution in each group. Pedicle screws at full insertion were then tested for axial pullout failure using a mechanical testing machine. A total of 30 screws were tested. The results of pullout analysis revealed better results of all groups with respect to the control group. In particular the statistical analysis showed a difference of Group V (p = 0.001) with respect to all other groups. These results confirm that the cement augmentation grants better results in pullout axial forces. Moreover they suggest better load resistance to axial forces when the distribution of the PMMA is along all the screw combining fenestration and pre-filling augmentation technique.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Screw, Screw thread, Screws, Window


The ability to achieve energy saving in architectures and optimal solar energy utilisation affects the sustainable development of the human race. Traditional smart windows and solar cells cannot be combined into one device for energy saving and electricity generation. A VO2 film can respond to the environmental temperature to intelligently regulate infrared transmittance while maintaining visible transparency, and can be applied as a thermochromic smart window. Herein, we report for the first time a novel VO2-based smart window that partially utilises light scattering to solar cells around the glass panel for electricity generation. This smart window combines energy-saving and generation in one device, and offers potential to intelligently regulate and utilise solar radiation in an efficient manner.

Concepts: Human, Ultraviolet, Energy, Light, Sun, Natural environment, Glass, Window


Bird-window collisions are a major and poorly-understood generator of bird mortality. In North America, studies of this topic tend to be focused east of the Mississippi River, resulting in a paucity of data from the Western flyways. Additionally, few available data can critically evaluate factors such as time of day, sex and age bias, and effect of window pane size on collisions. We collected and analyzed 5 years of window strike data from a 3-story building in a large urban park in San Francisco, California. To evaluate our window collision data in context, we collected weekly data on local bird abundance in the adjacent parkland. Our study asks two overarching questions: first-what aspects of a bird’s biology might make them more likely to fatally strike windows; and second, what characteristics of a building’s design contribute to bird-window collisions. We used a dataset of 308 fatal bird strikes to examine the relationships of strikes relative to age, sex, time of day, time of year, and a variety of other factors, including mitigation efforts. We found that actively migrating birds may not be major contributors to collisions as has been found elsewhere. We found that males and young birds were both significantly overrepresented relative to their abundance in the habitat surrounding the building. We also analyzed the effect of external window shades as mitigation, finding that an overall reduction in large panes, whether covered or in some way broken up with mullions, effectively reduced window collisions. We conclude that effective mitigation or design will be required in all seasons, but that breeding seasons and migratory seasons are most critical, especially for low-rise buildings and other sites away from urban migrant traps. Finally, strikes occur throughout the day, but mitigation may be most effective in the morning and midday.

Concepts: United States, Bird, Mississippi River, Urban park, Window, Bird migration, San Francisco, Golden Gate Park


Up to a billion birds die per year in North America as a result of striking windows. Both transparent and reflective glass panes are a cause for concern, misleading birds by either acting as invisible, impenetrable barriers to desired resources, or reflecting those resources over a large surface area. A high number of window strikes occur during migration, but little is known about the factors of susceptibility, or whether particular avian taxa are more vulnerable than others. We report on a study of window strikes and mist-netting data at the Virginia Zoological Park (Norfolk, Virginia, USA), conducted in the autumn of 2013 and 2014. We focused on three factors likely to contribute to an individual’s predisposition to collide with windows: (i) taxonomic classification, (ii) age, and (iii) migrant vs. resident status. Thrushes, dominated by the partial migrant American Robin (Turdus migratorius), were significantly less likely to strike glass than be sampled in mist nets (χ(2) = 9.21, p = 0.002), while wood-warblers (Parulidae) were more likely to strike than expected (χ(2) = 13.55, p < 0.001). The proportion of juveniles striking windows (45.4%) was not significantly different (χ(2) = 0.05, p = 0.827) than the population of juvenile birds naturally occurring at the zoo (48.8%). Migrants, however, were significantly more susceptible to window strikes than residents (χ(2) = 6.35, p = 0.012). Our results suggest that resident birds are able to learn to avoid and thus reduce their likelihood of striking windows; this intrinsic risk factor may help explain the apparent susceptibility of certain taxa to window strikes.

Concepts: Bird, Immigration, Glass, Window, European Robin, American Robin, Strike action, True thrush


136 glasses from the ninth-century monastery of San Vincenzo and its workshops have been analysed by electron microprobe in order to situate the assemblage within the first millennium CE glass making tradition. The majority of the glass compositions can be paralleled by Roman glass from the first to third centuries, with very few samples consistent with later compositional groups. Colours for trailed decoration on vessels, for vessel bodies and for sheet glass for windows were largely produced by melting the glass tesserae from old Roman mosaics. Some weakly-coloured transparent glass was obtained by re-melting Roman window glass, while some was produced by melting and mixing of tesserae, excluding the strongly coloured cobalt blues. Our data suggest that to feed the needs of the glass workshop, the bulk of the glass was removed as tesserae and windows from a large Roman building. This is consistent with a historical account according to which the granite columns of the monastic church were spolia from a Roman temple in the region. The purported shortage of natron from Egypt does not appear to explain the dependency of San Vincenzo on old Roman glass. Rather, the absence of contemporary primary glass may reflect the downturn in long-distance trade in the later first millennium C.E., and the role of patronage in the “ritual economy” founded upon donations and gift-giving of the time.

Concepts: Solid, Glass, Italy, Composition, Window, Mosaic, Soda-lime glass, 1st millennium