Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Quest For Transparency

The blurb says scientists from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have invented a smart window that requires no external power to tint the glass.

Reading further, we are told the magic window comprises two glass panels, one coated with a transparent conductive material, and one coated with an additional layer of a common blue pigment known as Prussian Blue. When fully charged, the window maintains a blue tint, which supposedly reduces light transmission by up to 50%. Short circuiting the two panels causes the pigment to gain electrons and turn colourless through a electrochromic process.

The window has to be charged again to work. A process that can take 2 to 12 hours for the pigment to be oxidised and become blue again. 2 to 12 hours of direct sunlight before the 50% heat shield comes into effect, by which time dusk has fallen, and it's nice and cool again.

Speaking on behalf of his mainland Chinese looking colleagues, Prof Sun said: “Our technology is very attractive as a zero-consumption smart window." Something has to be lost in the translation. The window had to be charged for it to turn blue and block out the sun, the electricity has to come from somewhere. We are surrounded by free electrons, the trick is in directing them where to go.

Maybe their research paper published in the scientific journal Nature Communications can enlighten us further on the science of the magic. A quick browse of the website yielded something called "electromagnetically induced transparency". Close, but no cigar. As in politics, it looks like transparency is an illusive quest.

18 comments:

  1. Theirs is a quest for opacity.

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  2. I listened to their explanation and could hardly understand what they are trying to say. The glass was suposed turn white but I saw blue all the way. Furthermore electrodes were used and obviously electricity is required.

    Can we get someone to explain to the nation in a more legible manner?

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  3. Another con job from a FT to justify the research grant given to him?
    Just go to any spectacle shop and ask for photochromatic lens. It darken on sunlight and clears up quickly when indoor.

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    1. Hahaha! Really Langgar lah!

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  4. The real political analogy is this - when you shine the light they become opaque; otherwise it is 'transparent' (invisible).

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    1. Haha. Spot on!

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    2. "electromagnetically induced transparency"? Politically speaking, electorally induced transparency may work.

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    3. You mean shafting the wires up their arses?

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  5. Who are they trying to fool? There is no such thing as "zero consumption" when it comes to things electrical/electronic. Unless they have come up with a perpetual motion machine - which does not exist.

    Tell them to go study the principles of thermodynamics - entropy.


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    1. Ah Tiong what! They say nonesense and do stupid things. Only PAP think they have brilliant minds. Guess birds of same feathers flock together.

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    2. What I want to know is how much tax payer's money went into funding this project?
      Who owns the intellectual property?

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    3. The science behind this is like transition lense, there are real science being done

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    4. "A bi-functional device for self-powered electrochromic window and self-rechargeable transparent battery applications." Wow! The pretentious claim of "self" here actually refers to "sun" - you cannot get something out of nothing, or "zero-consumption" like you rightfully pointed out, about conservation of energy! What to do if they want to toot their own horn. As mundane as a photovoltaic solar cell, but also functions as a transparent cum opaque window.

      Which reminds me of the elusive quest for cold fusion reaction 25 years ago. This also reminds me of the claims of transparency in politics by our great leader and gang, which are as illusive as the Emperor's new clothes.

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    5. /// This also reminds me of the claims of transparency in politics by our great leader and gang, which are as illusive as the Emperor's new clothes. ///

      Slight correction here - you are mixing up the metaphors. The claims of transparency - they are not illusive. To them, they are real - only they are deluded and delusive. The Emperor's new clothes are certainly very transparent - not illusive at all.

      ;)

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    6. Hahaha. Thanks for the correction - my wrong. The claims are real to them. I should have phrased it better and said that transparency in politics is an illusion. The point is that the Emperor was naked, so the new clothes do not exist, and are therefore an illusion, thus the simile. Like Tattler deliberately put it, "transparency is an illusive quest".

      ( :

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  6. Congrats to the team for reinventing the wheel!

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  7. Liquid Crystal Displays works just as well and is instantaneous! Only cost is prohibitive, but I am not sure by how much nowadays. Had this idea decades ago when I was in LCD manufacturing . Nothing great .

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  8. /// Anonymous12/17/2014 6:31 PM
    The science behind this is like transition lense, there are real science being done. ///

    Are you talking science or fiction? Look at the quote below:

    [[[ The window has to be charged again to work. A process that can take 2 to 12 hours for the pigment to be oxidised and become blue again. ]]]

    Do you have to charge your transition lenses?

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