A new class of photochromic materials has been developed in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins.
A new class of photochromic materials has been developed in Materials Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins. Based on a type of polymer matrix nanocomposite that is formed using an in situ, chemical vapor deposition process, we have successfully formed complicated nanoparticulate structures displaying photochromic behavior in fluorocarbon-based polymers. TEM studies have revealed involved nanoparticle transformations that accompany the photochromic response. The processing technique is highly scalable and can be used to make large sheets of photochromic material that can be used in energy saving applications where sun light needs to be blocked during the day.
This research focuses on fundamental issues connected to the synthesis and processing of polymer matrix nanocomposites (PMNCs). The methods being investigated allow for the scalable production of materials with specific engineered properties related to photochromic, photocatalytic or photosynthetic behaviors. In the case of photochromic PMNCs, related processing methods could lead to coatings for windows that would have a broad impact on the national energy budget. Optically-based processing also permits controlled patterning of PMNCs allowing for creation of functional, hierarchical microstructures. This project also includes educational outreach efforts through the Johns Hopkins University Center for Educational Outreach which provides laboratory experiences for high school students from underrepresented groups.