Manipulating metals for adaptive thermal camouflage

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Science Advances  27 May 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 22, eaba3494
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba3494


Many species in nature have evolved remarkable strategies to visually adapt to the surroundings for the purpose of protection and predation. Similarly, acquiring the capabilities of adaptively camouflaging in the infrared (IR) spectrum has emerged as an intriguing but highly challenging technology in recent years. Here, we report adaptive thermal camouflage devices by bridging the optical and radiative properties of nanoscopic platinum (Pt) films and silver (Ag) electrodeposited Pt films. Specifically, these metal-based devices have large, uniform, and consistent IR tunabilities in mid-wave IR (MWIR) and long-wave IR (LWIR) atmospheric transmission windows (ATWs). Furthermore, these devices can be easily multiplexed, enlarged, applied to rough and flexible substrates, or colored, demonstrating their multiple adaptive camouflaging capabilities. We believe that this technology will be advantageous not only in various adaptive camouflage platforms but also in many thermal radiation management–related technologies.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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