Peter Catrysse, Stanford University: Photonic structure textiles for localized thermal radiation control: From laboratory experiments to large-scale textile manufacturing 🗓

Speaker: Peter Catrysse, Stanford University
Meeting Date: Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Time: 4:00 PM PST (Zoom, on the Internet)
Cost: none


The human body dissipates a significant amount of heat by thermal radiation. The control of photonic properties of textiles in the thermal wavelength range can therefore substantially influence the human heat dissipation rate, resulting in the capability of localized thermal management. This in turn can yield significant reductions in energy consumption within buildings. The cooling and heating of buildings accounts for more than 10% of domestic energy use. Its primary function is to maintain thermal comfort for the building occupants. This is achieved by maintaining the temperature within a set point range. Expanding temperatures beyond this range by 4°F has the potential for energy savings of more than 15%. Controlling thermal energy exchange at the occupant level versus the room level leverages the large difference in thermal envelope size between a room and its occupants. Hence, local thermal management solutions can have great potential for energy savings through set point expansion.

In our work, we developed transformative textile-based solutions for localized thermal management. We demonstrated for the first time that thermal radiation control using photonic structure textiles can provide localized cooling and heating capabilities, and that this can be done while maintaining the visual opacity of textiles. To achieve radiative cooling, in particular, we increased the thermal transmissivity of textiles. Conventional textiles, by contrast, block the transmission of radiation at thermal wavelengths. The development of optically opaque, thermally transparent textiles is a groundbreaking step that had not been achieved before.

In this talk, I will present our pioneering work, which provided the impetus for a rapidly developing field. I will describe our progression from theoretical design, over laboratory experiments, towards large-scale manufacturing of these innovative textiles. Our efforts pave the way to a broader adoption of this new textile technology with energy savings in buildings and a more sustainable society in its wake, while also providing a new pathway to thermal comfort for a wide range of clothing.


Dr. Peter B. Catrysse holds a senior academic research position in the interdisciplinary Edward L. Ginzton Laboratory at Stanford University. He obtained a Ph.D. and M.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. His work focuses on nanophotonics at the interface between fundamental physics and applications across the electromagnetic spectrum. He has written more than 120 peer-reviewed papers, given over 60 invited and contributed talks, and has been awarded 8 US patents (6 licensed). The work on radiative cooling photonic structure textiles was funded by a Department of Energy ARPA-E Award and an Innovation Transfer Award from the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy that enabled significant progress towards the commercialization of these innovative textiles. Dr. Catrysse is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a Fellow of the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), a Fellow of the Optical Society (OSA), a Hoover Foundation Brussels Fellow of the Belgian American Educational Foundation, a Fellow of the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders, as well as an Alumni Member of the Engineering Honor Society (Tau Beta Pi) and a Full Member of the Scientific Research Society (Sigma Xi). In 2017, he was named a “Tijd 50 Tech” pioneer by the Belgian Financial Times (De Tijd). In 2008, he received an inaugural Hewlett-Packard Labs Innovation Research Award.

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