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New window coating allows sunlight but filters heat

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Ashley Hassett/Innovation Trail
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It’s a creation expected to reduce the cost of heating and cooling for homes and businesses. It took five years for University at Buffalo Professor Sarbajit Banerjee and his students to invent a window film that repels heat from the sun.

“Smart Window” coating is a clear laminate that is easily applied to windows. Banerjee says the coating is made of a chameleon type material that lets in sunlight, but prevents too much heat from getting in.

“What happens is a phase transition and it goes from one form of matter to another in response to heat. So the closest analogy is that when you apply heat to ice it melts the water, but here it doesn’t actually melt to become a liquid. But this material changes structure very slightly and by switching from one phase to the other it either lets in heat or it blocks heat,” explains Banerjee.

The product is expected to be popular in warmer states and countries across the world.

Banerjee said the cost of the coating is much cheaper than similar products on the market, because the materials used to make it are cheaper. He said his team is also trying to utilize the product in other ways.

“We’re working with some large computer chip manufacturers to look at memory applications. We’re looking at roofing applications for these materials. You can think about having auto-windows. A lot of states and countries have regulations on how much you can tint your glass, so here’s some work around it that will keep your car cool while letting light in, ” said Banerjee.

Banerjee said he hopes the invention will boost the western New York economy and cause businesses around the world to come to Buffalo for their innovative technologies. The “Smart Window” coating is patent pending.

Ashley is a Buffalo native, and is in her second stint as reporter at WBFO. During her first tenure at the station, Ashley covered a variety of issues in the western New York region and earned an Associated Press award for team coverage on “Same Sex Marriage in New York.” Ashley has also worked as an anchor/reporter at WBEN in Buffalo and WBTA in Batavia.