To address critical energy issues in civic structures, we have developed a novel concept of optical thermal insulation (OTI) without relying on a conventional thermal intervention medium, such as air or argon, as often used in conventional window systems. We have synthesized the photothermal (PT) materials, such as the Fe3O4 and Fe3O4@Cu2-xS nanoparticles, that exhibit strong UV and near-infrared (NIR) absorptions but with good visible transparency. Upon coating the inner surface of the window glass with a PT film, under solar irradiation, the inner surface temperature rises due to the PT effect. Subsequently, the temperature difference, ΔT, is reduced between the single pane and room interior. This leads to lower the thermal loss through a window, reflected by the U-factor, resulting in considerable energy saving without double- or triple-glazing. Comparing with the Fe3O4 coatings, Fe3O4@Cu2-xS is spectrally characterized with a much stronger NIR absorbance, contributing to an increased PT efficiency under simulated solar irradiation (0.1 W/cm2). PT experiments are carried out via both white light and monochromic NIR irradiations (785 nm). The parameters associated with the thermal performance of the PT films are calculated, including PT conversion efficiency, specific absorption rate (SAR), and U-factor. Based on the concept of OTI, we have reached an optimum U-factor of 1.46 W/m2 K for a single pane, which is satisfactory to the DOE requirement (<1.7 W/m2 K).
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
U.S. Energy Information Administration: United States: International Energy Outlook 2019 with projections to 2050, 2019.
ARPA-E: Single-pane highly insulating efficient lucid designs (SHIELD) program overview, 2014.
National Fenestration Rating Council Incorporated: ANSI/NFRC 100-2017 [E0A2]: procedure for determining fenestration product U-factors. National Fenestration Rating Council Incorporated, July 18, 2018.
ASTM G173-03: Standard tables for reference solar spectral irradiances: direct normal and hemispherical on 37° tilted surface. ASTM International: West Conshohocken, PA, 2012. http://www.astm.org/cgi-bin/resolver.cgi?G173
X. Huang, I.H. El-Sayed, W. Qian, and M.A. El-Sayed: Cancer cell imaging and photothermal therapy in the near-infrared region by using gold nanorods. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 128, 2115–2120 (2006).
L. Feng, L. Wu, and X. Qu: New horizons for diagnostics and therapeutic applications of graphene and graphene oxide. Adv. Mater. 25, 168–186 (2013).
D. Shi, M.E. Sadat, A.W. Dunn, and D.B. Mast: Photo-fluorescent and magnetic properties of iron oxide nanoparticles for biomedical applications. Nanoscale 7, 8209–8232 (2015).
M. Chu, Y. Shao, J. Peng, X. Dai, H. Li, Q. Wu, and D. Shi: Near-infrared laser light mediated cancer therapy by photothermal effect of Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles. Biomaterials 34, 4078–4088 (2013).
Q. Tian, J. Hu, Y. Zhu, R. Zou, Z. Chen, S. Yang, R. Li, Q. Su, Y. Han, and X. Liu: Sub-10 nm Fe3O4@Cu2-XS core-shell nanoparticles for dual-modal imaging and photothermal therapy. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 135, 8571–8577 (2013).
R. Zhao, X. Sun, J. Sun, L. Wang, and J. Han: Polypyrrole-modified CuS nanoprisms for efficient near-infrared photothermal therapy. RSC Adv. 7, 10143–10149 (2017).
M.A. Zaitoun, W.R. Mason, and C.-T. Lin: Magnetic circular dichroism spectra for colloidal gold nanoparticles in xerogels at 5.5 K. J. Phys. Chem. B 105, 6780–6784 (2001).
J.S. Melinger, V.D. Kleiman, D. McMorrow, F. Gröhn, B.J. Bauer, and E. Amis: Ultrafast dynamics of gold-based nanocomposite materials. J. Phys. Chem. A 107, 3424–3431 (2013).
Y. Zhao, M.E. Sadat, A.W. Dunn, H. Xu, C.-H. Chen, W. Nakasuga, R.C. Ewing, and D. Shi: Photothermal effect on Fe3O4 nanoparticles irradiated by white-light for energy-efficient window applications. Solar Energy Mater. Solar Cells 161, 247–254 (2017).
T. Wei, Y. Liu, W. Dong, Y. Zhang, C. Huang, Y. Sun, X. Chen, and N. Dai: Surface-dependent localized surface plasmon resonances in CuS nanodisks. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 5, 10473–10477 (2013).
M. Shabaninezhad and G. Ramakrishna: Theoretical investigation of size, shape, and aspect ratio effect on the LSPR sensitivity of hollow-gold nanoshells. J. Chem. Phys. 150, 144116 (2019).
M.E. Sadat, M.K. Baghbador, A.W. Dunn, H.P. Wagner, R. Ewing, J. Zhang, H. Xu, G. Pauletti, D. Mast, and D. Shi: Photoluminescence and photothermal effect of Fe3O4 nanoparticles for medical imaging and therapy. Appl. Phys. Lett. 105, 091903 (2014).
K. Jiang, D.A. Smith, and A. Pinchuk: Size-dependent photothermal conversion efficiencies of plasmonically heated gold nanoparticles. J. Phys. Chem. C 117, 27073–27080 (2013).
M. Kanehara, H. Koike, T. Yoshinaga, and T. Teranishi: Indium tin oxide nanoparticles with compositionally tunable surface plasmon resonance frequencies in the near-IR region. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 131, 17736–17737 (2009).
J.B. Lassiter, J. Aizpurua, L. Hernandez, D. Brandl, I. Romero, S. Lal, J. Hafner, P. Nordlarder, and N. Halas: Close encounters between two nanoshells. Nano Lett. 8, 1212–1218 (2008).
D. De Faria, S. Venâncio Silva, and M.T. De Oliveira: Raman microspectroscopy of some iron oxides and oxyhydroxides. J. Raman Spectrosc. 28, 873–878 (1997).
H. Jin, G. Lin, L. Bai, M. Amjad, E.P. Bandarra Filho, and D. Wen: Photothermal conversion efficiency of nanofluids: an experimental and numerical study. Solar Energy 139, 278–289 (2016).
Y. Zhao, A. Dunn, and D. Shi: Effective reduction of building heat loss without insulation materials via the photothermal effect of a chlorophyll thin film coated “Green Window”. MRS Commun. 9, 675–681 (2019).
ASTM C1199-14: Standard test method for measuring the steady-state thermal transmittance of fenestration systems using hot box methods. ASTM International: West Conshohocken, PA, 2014. www.astm.org
ENERGY STAR Program Requirements for Residential Windows, Doors, and Skylights: https://www.energystar.gov/products/building_products/residential_windows_doors_and_skylights/key_product_criteria#performanceCriteria (accessed October 31, 2019).
This research is supported by the National Science Foundation CMMI-1635089. We thank Dr. Vasseline Shanov for using the Raman spectrometer and Dr. Andrew J. Steckl for the Perkin-Elmer spectrophotometer.
About this article
Cite this article
Lin, J., Zhao, Y. & Shi, D. Optical thermal insulation via the photothermal effects of Fe3O4 and Fe3O4@Cu2-xS thin films for energy-efficient single-pane windows. MRS Communications 10, 155–163 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1557/mrc.2020.4