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Title: Radiative sky cooling: Fundamental principles, materials, and applications


Radiative sky cooling cools an object on the earth by emitting thermal infrared radiation to the cold universe through the atmospheric window (8–13 μm). It consumes no electricity and has great potential to be explored for cooling of buildings, vehicles, solar cells, and even thermal power plants. Radiative sky cooling has been explored in the past few decades but limited to nighttime use only. Very recently, owing to the progress in nanophotonics and metamaterials, daytime radiative sky cooling to achieve subambient temperatures under direct sunlight has been experimentally demonstrated. More excitingly, the manufacturing of the daytime radiative sky cooling material by the roll-to-roll process makes large-scale deployment of the technology possible. This work reviews the fundamental principles of radiative sky cooling as well as the recent advances, from both materials and systems point of view. Potential applications in different scenarios are reviewed with special attention to technology viability and benefits. As the energy situation and environmental issues become more and more severe in the 21st century, we conclude radiative sky cooling can be explored for energy saving in buildings and vehicles, mitigating the urban heat island effect, resolving water and environmental issues, achieving more efficient power generation, and even fightingmore » against the global warming problem.« less

ORCiD logo [1];  [2]; ORCiD logo [2];  [3]; ORCiD logo [4];  [2]; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States); Southeast Univ., Nanjing (China). School of Energy and Environment
  2. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States)
  3. Ruiling Inst. of Advanced Energy and Environmental Solutions, Ningbo (China)
  4. Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie, WY (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E)
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1507229
Grant/Contract Number:  
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Applied Physics Reviews
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 6; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 1931-9401
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Country of Publication:
United States
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; 14 SOLAR ENERGY; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Physics; Urban heat island; Atmospheric radiation; Passive radiator; Cooling technology; Infrared radiation; Solar energy; Energy efficiency; Metamaterials; Global warming; Building energy analysis

Citation Formats

Zhao, Dongliang, Aili, Ablimit, Zhai, Yao, Xu, Shaoyu, Tan, Gang, Yin, Xiaobo, and Yang, Ronggui. Radiative sky cooling: Fundamental principles, materials, and applications. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1063/1.5087281.
Zhao, Dongliang, Aili, Ablimit, Zhai, Yao, Xu, Shaoyu, Tan, Gang, Yin, Xiaobo, & Yang, Ronggui. Radiative sky cooling: Fundamental principles, materials, and applications. United States. doi:10.1063/1.5087281.
Zhao, Dongliang, Aili, Ablimit, Zhai, Yao, Xu, Shaoyu, Tan, Gang, Yin, Xiaobo, and Yang, Ronggui. Tue . "Radiative sky cooling: Fundamental principles, materials, and applications". United States. doi:10.1063/1.5087281.
title = {Radiative sky cooling: Fundamental principles, materials, and applications},
author = {Zhao, Dongliang and Aili, Ablimit and Zhai, Yao and Xu, Shaoyu and Tan, Gang and Yin, Xiaobo and Yang, Ronggui},
abstractNote = {Radiative sky cooling cools an object on the earth by emitting thermal infrared radiation to the cold universe through the atmospheric window (8–13 μm). It consumes no electricity and has great potential to be explored for cooling of buildings, vehicles, solar cells, and even thermal power plants. Radiative sky cooling has been explored in the past few decades but limited to nighttime use only. Very recently, owing to the progress in nanophotonics and metamaterials, daytime radiative sky cooling to achieve subambient temperatures under direct sunlight has been experimentally demonstrated. More excitingly, the manufacturing of the daytime radiative sky cooling material by the roll-to-roll process makes large-scale deployment of the technology possible. This work reviews the fundamental principles of radiative sky cooling as well as the recent advances, from both materials and systems point of view. Potential applications in different scenarios are reviewed with special attention to technology viability and benefits. As the energy situation and environmental issues become more and more severe in the 21st century, we conclude radiative sky cooling can be explored for energy saving in buildings and vehicles, mitigating the urban heat island effect, resolving water and environmental issues, achieving more efficient power generation, and even fighting against the global warming problem.},
doi = {10.1063/1.5087281},
journal = {Applied Physics Reviews},
number = 2,
volume = 6,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {4}

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