Large area, low power 'smart' glass developed in the CIKC project LEAF is being commercialised by Cambridge Enterprise, the University’s commercialisation arm, with a major industrial partner through a technology framework transfer agreement.
Researchers in the Department of Engineering developed a type of ‘smart’ glass that switches back and forth between transparent and opaque, while using very low amounts of energy. It can be switched back and forth millions of times, and can be kept in either state for as long as the user wants. The material, known as Smectic A composites, could be used in buildings, automotive or display applications.
Working with industrial partners including Dow Corning, the Cambridge researchers have been developing ‘Smectic A’ composites over the past two decades. The team has made samples of Smectic A based glass, and based on work funded through the CIKC grant, is now also able to produce it on a roll-to-roll process so that it can be printed onto plastic.
Possible applications for smectic A composites include uses in the construction, advertising and automotive industries. For example, it could be applied to glass buildings in order to regulate the amount of sunlight that could get through, or it could be used as a ‘sunroof’ in a car that could be switched back and forth between transparent and opaque.
The full version of this story was originally published as a Cambridge University News Item.