Abstract

Technologies for directing daylight deeper within a building space are highly sought after for energy efficiency applications in order to offset artificial lighting costs and to improve workplace productivity via the use of natural light. Vertical window coatings that can perform this task by redistributing sunlight deeper into a space are especially attractive as they are significantly more straightforward to incorporate into a wide variety of architectures as well as to retrofit into existing facades as compared to roof-based skylights or bulky horizontal daylight shelf-type options. The potential energy savings are even greater when one takes into account the fact that such technologies would mitigate harsh glare, allowing window shades to be open for longer portions of the day. However, low-cost and readily scalable techniques are essential for widespread adoption of these window coating technologies. Here, we describe a potentially low-cost method to create a window coating that could enhance daylight penetration, requiring only a thin film of polymeric material deposited on an elastomeric substrate. The resulting structure is a disordered, spontaneously buckled optical grating that spreads incident light without noticeable chromatic dispersion due to its stochastic patterning. The described method has the potential to improve energy efficiency while maintaining acceptable optical clarity.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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