Nanostructured electrochromic smart windows: traditional materials and NIR-selective plasmonic nanocrystals
Electrochromic devices, which dynamically change colour under applied potential, are widely studied for use in energy-efficient smart windows. To improve the viability of smart windows, many researchers are utilizing nanomaterials, which can provide electrochromic devices with improved colouration efficiencies, faster switching times, longer cycle lives, and potentially reduced costs. In an effort to demonstrate a new type of electrochromic device that goes beyond the capabilities of commonly used electrochromic materials, researchers have turned to plasmonic transparent conductive oxide (TCO) nanocrystals. Electrochemical injection of electrons into plasmonic TCO nanocrystal films induces a shift in the plasmon frequency and gives rise to the new functionality of selective optical modulation in the near-infrared region of the solar spectrum. These nanocrystals can be used as building blocks to enable creation of advanced electrochromic devices containing mesoporous electrodes or nanocrystal-in-glass composites. Such devices have been important in advancing the field towards achieving the ideal smart window with independent control over visible and NIR transmittance.