Smart Windows Innovator To Join Department Faculty
Delia Milliron, a ground-breaking scientist developing new materials used to create smart windows that could lead to big cost and energy savings for commercial buildings and homeowners, has accepted an associate professor position with the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering.
Dr. Milliron will join the faculty with a courtesy appointment starting in September 2013. She will move her laboratory to the Forty Acres and begin her full-time appointment in September 2014.
“The addition of Delia Milliron to our faculty advances our commitment to be a global leader in chemical engineering education, knowledge creation, and technological innovation,” said McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering Department Chair Tom Truskett. “Her expertise in developing new materials that could dramatically reduce energy costs not only brings exciting educational opportunities for our students, but also strengthens UT Austin’s research portfolio in sustainable energy.”
Residential and commercial buildings account for about 40 percent of energy use and about 30 percent of energy-related carbon emissions in the United States. To reduce this energy consumption, Dr. Milliron and her research team have designed a thin coating of nanocrystals that are embedded in electro-responsive glass to regulate the amount of sunlight and heat that passes through.
A small, applied voltage allows the dynamic window coating to adapt to a wide range of climate conditions to maximize energy savings and occupant comfort. In cold weather, optimal heat is permitted, but in warmer weather the coating adjusts to block heat from the sun. Furthermore, optical transparency can be tuned independently of heat transmission allowing users to separately control the amount of visible light in a room. Smart windows could be integrated with intelligent heating and cooling systems for easy management and use.
Dr. Milliron’s work was featured in the latest edition of Nature, the international weekly science journal, published August 15. The publication highlighted the flexibility of her team’s approach, allowing the selection of different combinations of components to tailor functionality, and their method as a new way to make functional materials.
Dr. Milliron joins us from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in Berkeley, California. Her research group is based at the Molecular Foundry, a research center and user facility for nanoscience supported by the U. S. Department of Energy. She studied chemistry and materials science as an undergraduate at Princeton University and earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, then worked for IBM’s research division before joining the LBNL. She recently received a 2013 R&D 100 Award, a Mohr Davidow Ventures Innovators Award, and a Department of Energy Early Career Research Award.