Gate-controlled VO2 phase transition for high-performance smart windows

By Shi Chen, Zhaowu Wang, Hui Ren, Yuliang Chen, Wensheng Yan, Chengming Wang, Bowen Li, Jun Jiang and Chongwen Zou for ScienceAdvances

Vanadium dioxide (VO2) is a promising material for developing energy-saving “smart windows,” owing to its infrared thermochromism induced by metal-insulator transition (MIT). However, its practical application is greatly limited by its relatively high critical temperature (~68°C), low luminous transmittance (<60%), and poor solar energy regulation ability (<15%). Here, we developed a reversible and nonvolatile electric field control of the MIT of a monoclinic VO2 film. With a solid electrolyte layer assisting gating treatment, we modulated the insertion/extraction of hydrogen into/from the VO2 lattice at room temperature, causing tristate phase transitions that enable control of light transmittance. The dramatic increase in visible/infrared transmittance due to the phase transition from the metallic (lightly H-doped) to the insulating (heavily H-doped) phase results in an increased solar energy regulation ability up to 26.5%, while maintaining 70.8% visible luminous transmittance. These results break all previous records and exceed the theoretical limit for traditional VO2 smart windows, making them ready for energy-saving utilization.

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