Solar-powered nano-coating could defrost car windows

Researchers at ETH Zurich developed a solar-powered nano-coating made from gold and titanium-oxide, that could help defrost windows.

Defrosting one’s car windows is something no car owner does for fun. Electrical heat, chemicals or manual labour are none very viable solutions, either because of the costs, the environmental impact, or just because it takes time and energy.

The new coating is supposed to be capable of de-icing, using only solar power as its energy source. In addition, by tuning the coating’s thickness, it can be completely transparent so it won’t interfere with your vision.

The coating consists of gold nanoparticle inclusions in titanium oxide, concentrating broadband absorbed solar energy into a small volume. This causes an increase of more than 10 degrees Celsius compared to the ambient temperature, reducing ice adhesion to negligible levels (de-icing) and inhibiting frost formation (anti-icing).

The icephobic coating has been tested with materials like glass and acrylic and shows promising results for defrosting. The researchers are currently working on improving the coating’s performance as well as trying to bring down the production costs.

Photo: HeikoAL