Langmuir, Vol.36, No.23, 6589-6596, 2020
Colloidal Photonic Assemblies for Colorful Radiative Cooling
Radiative cooling has proven to be a powerful strategy for sustainable thermal management. Nanophotonic structures enabling broadband reflection lead to minimization of sunlight absorption, which has brought nighttime-limited radiative cooling into daytime applications. However, this broadband reflection strategy in turn restricts the accessible colorization of radiative coolers to white or neutral, consequently hindering their practical applications, particularly for aesthetic purposes. With a few exceptions, selective absorption at a specific visible wavelength has been the most prevalent paradigm for colorization of radiative coolers. However, this absorption-based colorization inevitably makes the radiative cooler prone to heating, thus decreasing the cooling efficiency. Here, we demonstrate an undiscovered usage of opals for advancing color-preserved daytime radiative coolers. Opals, which have served mainly as Bragg reflective color pigments thus far, can be considered an effective homogeneous medium in the mid-infrared region. Thus, opals can also be envisioned as reflectively colorful metamaterials capable of radiative cooling even under the direct summer sun. Together with the soft fluidity of colloidal suspensions, opals can serve as platforms for easy-to-craft, large-scale, and colorful radiative coolers with minimal solar absorption.