About the Technology

About the Technology

The 2016-2017 Y-Prize competition features two novel nanomaterials developed by Penn researchers. Learn more about these technologies below.

Smart Windows

There has been tremendous interest in design of smart roofing, skylights, and architectural windows, which can block or reflect sunlight on scorching days, and return to a transparent state at a low lighting condition to improve light harvesting and capture free heat from the sun. The assembly of the existing device, however, is often complex and costly.

Professor Shu Yang has created a simple yet smart optical window that can be reversibly switched from a highly transparent state (90% transmittance in the visible region) to opaqueness (30% transmittance) and display angle-independent reflective colors through mechanical stretching and release. These smart windows can also be used for applications such as camouflages, security, and heat/solar gain control.

Read more about Smart Windows here.

Ultrathin Plates

Robust plates of nanometer-scale thickness and ultra-low weight can enable a variety of new technologies: swarms of levitating microflyers, separation membranes for biomedical applications, or new nanoscale composite materials that are strong and tough at the same time.

Professor Igor Bargatin’s group has recently demonstrated the thinnest plates that can be picked up by hand. These plates are created by depositing materials one atomic layer at a time on corrugated templates and is currently exploring unprecedented properties and applications of these nanomaterials.

Read more about Ultrathin Plates here.