Svetlana Boriskina1 Hadi Zandavi1 Yi Huang1 Gang Chen1

1, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

We will discuss design, fabrication and applications of a new family of flexible polymer metamaterials (films and fabrics) with spectrally tailored transmittance, reflectance and absorptance. Starting with our pioneering conceptual proposal of fabrics that are opaque in the visible yet transparent in the infrared (1), we continue exploring textiles that block certain parts of thermal and solar energy spectra and their exciting applications in thermal management of individuals and infrastructure via passive thermal emission (2,3). Passively cooling fabrics are opaque to the eye and reflect sunlight, while simultaneously allowing the body heat to efficiently dissipate via both radiation and convection. In turn, fabrics reflective in the infrared can help in retaining radiative body heat and providing thermal camouflaging. We will report on our on-going efforts in the fabrication and testing of fibers and textiles that – depending on their structural design – provide either passive radiative cooling or infrared signature control. We will also discuss approaches to coloring fabrics while maintaining their transmittance characteristics.
1. J. K. Tong et al., Infrared-transparent visible-opaque fabrics for wearable personal thermal management. ACS Photonics. 2, 769–778 (2015).
2. S. V. Boriskina, Nanoporous fabrics could keep you cool. Science. 353, 986–987 (2016).
3. S.V. Boriskina, et al, Heat is the new light. Optics and Photonics News, 26-33, Nov. (2017).