Temperature Control of Light Transmission Using Mixed System of Silica Hollow Particles with Nanoparticle Shell and Organic Components

We reported before that a silica hollow particle whose shell consists of silica nanoparticle (SHP-NP) has a high light reflection ability to prevent light transmission through the particle, which is caused from the intensive light diffusion by the hollow structure and the nanoparticle of the shell. Since the difference in the refractive indices between silica and air is responsible for the strong light reflection, the mixing of the particle with organic components having refractive indices close to that of silica such as tetradecane produced transparent mixtures by suppression of the light reflection. The transparency of the mixtures thus prepared could be controlled by temperature variation. For example, the mixture of the particle SHP-NP with tetradecane was transparent at 20 °C and opaque at 70 °C, while the mixture with n-hexyl cyclohexane was opaque at 20 °C and transparent at 70 °C. As the refractive indices of organic components changed with temperature more than 10 times wider than that of silica, the temperature alternation produced a significant change in the difference of the refractive indices between them to achieve complete control of the transparency of the mixtures. This simple control of the light transmission that can automatically regulate sunlight into the room with temperature alteration is expected to be suitable for smart glass technology for energy conservation.