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Adv Sci (Weinh). 2016 Feb 4;3(7):1500360. eCollection 2016 Jul.

Radiative Cooling: Principles, Progress, and Potentials.

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Centre for Micro-Photonics Faculty of Science Engineering and Technology Swinburne University of Technology Hawthorn Victoria 3122 Australia.


The recent progress on radiative cooling reveals its potential for applications in highly efficient passive cooling. This approach utilizes the maximized emission of infrared thermal radiation through the atmospheric window for releasing heat and minimized absorption of incoming atmospheric radiation. These simultaneous processes can lead to a device temperature substantially below the ambient temperature. Although the application of radiative cooling for nighttime cooling was demonstrated a few decades ago, significant cooling under direct sunlight has been achieved only recently, indicating its potential as a practical passive cooler during the day. In this article, the basic principles of radiative cooling and its performance characteristics for nonradiative contributions, solar radiation, and atmospheric conditions are discussed. The recent advancements over the traditional approaches and their material and structural characteristics are outlined. The key characteristics of the thermal radiators and solar reflectors of the current state-of-the-art radiative coolers are evaluated and their benchmarks are remarked for the peak cooling ability. The scopes for further improvements on radiative cooling efficiency for optimized device characteristics are also theoretically estimated.


atmospheric radiation; radiative cooling; selective radiators; thermal radiation

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