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  1. Abstract

    Passive radiative cooling, drawing heat energy of objects to the cold outer space through the atmospheric transparent window, is significant for reducing the energy consumption of buildings. Daytime and nighttime radiative cooling have been extensively investigated in the past. However, radiative cooling which can continuously regulate its cooling temperature, like a valve, according to human need is rarely reported. In this study, we propose a reconfigurable photonic structure, based on the effective medium theory and semi-analytical calculations, for the adaptive radiative cooling by continuous variation of the emission spectra in the atmospheric window. This is realized by the deformation of a one-dimensional polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) grating and nanoparticle-embedded PDMS thin film when subjected to mechanical stress/strain. The proposed structure reaches different stagnation temperatures under certain strains. A dynamic tuning in emissivity under different strains results in a continuously variable “ON”/“OFF” mode in a particular atmospheric window that corresponds to the deformation-induced fluctuation of the operating temperatures of the reconfigurable nanophotonic structure.

  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
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  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  6. Water scarcity and waste mismanagement are global crises that threaten the health of populations worldwide and a sustainable future. In order to help mitigate both these issues, a solar desalination device composed entirely of fallen leaves and guar – both natural materials – has been developed and demonstrated herein. This sustainable desalinator realizes an evaporation rate of 2.53 kg m −2 h −1 under 1 sun irradiance, and achieves consistent performance over an extended exposure period. Furthermore, it functions efficiently under a variety of solar intensities and in high salinity environments, and can produce water at salinities well within the acceptable levels for human consumption. Such strong performance in a large variety of environmental conditions is made possible by its excellent solar absorption, superb and rapid water absorption, low thermal conductivity, and considerable salt rejection abilities. Composed primarily of biowaste material and boasting a simple fabrication process, this leaf-guar desalinator provides a low-cost and sustainable avenue for alleviating water scarcity and supporting a green path forward.
  7. Solar-driven interfacial evaporation shows great prospects for seawater desalination with its rapid fast evaporation rate and high photothermal conversion efficiency. Here, a sustainable, biodegradable, non-toxic, and highly efficient full ocean biomass-based solar-driven evaporator is reported, which is composed of chitosan (CS) hydrogel as the hydratable skeleton and cuttlefish ink (CI) as the photothermal material. Under solar irradiation, the cuttlefish ink powder harvests solar energy and heats the surrounding water. Simultaneously, the water in the three-dimensional network of chitosan hydrogel is rapidly replenished by the interconnected porous structure and the hydrophilic functional groups attached to the polymer chains. With its enlarged evaporation surface, high solar absorptance, adequate water transportation, good salt drainage, and heat localization, the CI/CS-based evaporator achieves a remarkable evaporation rate of 4.1 kg m −2 h −1 under one sun irradiance (1 kW m −2 ) with high-quality freshwater yields. This full ocean biomass-based evaporator with abundant raw material availability provides new possibilities for an efficient, stable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly solar evaporator with guaranteed water quality.