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Nanoparticle-based windows could switch colors on demand

The same materials inside stained glass windows could lead to color-changing windows.


One day, you might not need special bulbs to give your room's lighting a different hue -- you'd just tell the windows themselves to change. Rice University researchers have discovered that you can change the colors transmitted through glass by sending a voltage through pairs of gold and silver nanoparticles, which you frequently find in stained glass windows. Jolt a window one way and you'd get a bright red; reverse the voltage and you'd get blue. All you're really doing is forming or removing chemical bridges between the particles.

The technology is still far from production, so don't expect to renovate your home just yet. However, you only need tiny amounts of the precious metals to achieve dramatic effects. As such, you might well find yourself upgrading to color-shifting smart windows around the whole home, not just in one or two prime locations.

[Image credit: Craig Warga/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

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