Since the invention of the glass window, the way to prevent glare and heat from the sun was to pull down the shade. With its SPD-Smart window technology, Research Frontiers expects to consign the window shade to the dustbin of history. The U.S. company has licensed Vision Systems (Stand 2639) to produce the windows, and the technology is a highlight of this year’s Dubai Air Show.
The principle is relatively simple. In the suspended particle device (SPD) window, millions of particles are suspended between two panels of glass or plastic that is coated with a transparent conductive material. When electricity comes in contact with the SPDs via the conductive coating, they line up in a straight line and allow light to pass through.
When the electric current is removed, the particles move back into a random pattern and the light is blocked. The amount of light passing through can be altered by using a rheostat to control the amount of electrical current.
Today, the SPD-Smart window technology has become a best-selling smart-window technology worldwide, said Joseph Harary, president and CEO of Research Frontiers. In fact, there are thousands of Mercedes-Benz vehicles on the road now with Magic Sky Control panoramic roofs that employ SPD-Smart window technology.
In growing numbers, business aircraft manufacturers and independent completion centers are offering the SPD-Smart windows as standard or as an option on everything from Beechcraft King Airs to Boeing Business Jets. The technology now features in the highly distinctive overhead skylight–called the Zenith Window–in the main entrance of the new Dassault Falcon 5X business jet.
The Zenith Window is being supplied by Vision Systems and employs the SPD-Smart technology that Dassault described as the solution to the critical need to manage the intense solar light, glare and heat coming into the cabin through the skylight. This is particularly true, said the OEM, at cruise altitude where solar rays, including ultraviolet radiation, are much stronger than when on the ground. Vision Systems said the SPD-Smart film used in the skylight can block more than 99.9975 percent of all visible light, at the same time controlling heat inside the cabin and blocking UV light 100 percent of the time.
Even more interesting is the product of a new license agreement of Vision Systems with Sunpartner Group. The latter is the developer of Wysips Glass a product that will transform any glass into a photovoltaic, energy-generating solar panel producing sufficient energy to power the dimmable window itself without the need of an external power source.
Whsips currently captures 30 watts of energy per square meter, allowing visual transparency of the window from 70 to 90 percent. The company anticipates the capacity will reach 50 watts per square meter in 2014, while maintaining the 70- to 90-percent transparency rating. Ludovic Deblois, CEO and founder of Sunpartner Group, said the window’s transparency rating will eventually reach 95 percent and generate enough electricity to power not only itself, but other nearby devices as well.
Sunpartner and Vision Systems expect a prototype by the end of 2013 and a market-ready product is anticipated by mid-2015.