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Keywords:

  • liquid crystals;
  • photoluminescence;
  • smart windows

Abstract

A new type of “smart” window is proposed that makes use of fluorescent dye guests in a liquid-crystal host sandwiched between glass panels. The dye absorbs a variable amount of light depending on its orientation, and re-emits this light, of which a significant fraction is trapped by total internal reflection at the glass–air interface, and becomes concentrated along the edges. Such a device could both generate electricity via an attached photovoltaic as well as allow user control of the amount of transmitted light. By applying a voltage across the cell, absorption could be varied 31%, while the usable light output only varied 11% due to the increased efficiency of light collection at homeotropic dye orientation.