CoolComm Structure for Automobiles

A metal structure effective for infrared reflection while improving radio frequency communication.

The Need

Transparent metallic coatings can be used as infrared radiation reflectors and as heating elements on automobiles. These coatings have the capacity to reduce the build-up of heat inside a vehicle's cab and to reduce the need for air conditioning. Additionally, a metallic coating can be used to de-ice and defrost an automobile window. The use of infrared reflective technology to reduce the dependence on energy for air conditioning has become mandated by some states in the US. Though these coatings have significant benefits, they can also cause problems with radio frequency signal transmission. Blocking radio frequencies can limit the functions of GPS, cell phones, Bluetooth, and satellite radio. For infrared reflective technology to be widely used in automobiles, the coating must work effectively without hindering radio frequencies.

The Technology

The Ohio State University researchers, led by Dr. Eric Walton, have developed a metallic panel aperture that allows for the reflection of infrared light and can be used for de-icing and defrosting a vehicle. Unlike the metallic coatings currently used as infrared reflectors, Dr. Walton’s technology can be tuned to permit the passage of radio frequency signals. This allows for the use of cell phones, GPS, Bluetooth, radio, and other electronic devices. Additionally, this technology allows for a consistent flow of electrons to eliminate cold spots on the automobile when used in de-icing or defrosting applications. This technology can be used in any shape vehicle and can be easily added to a manufacturing line through laser ablation or sputtering.

Commercial Applications

  • Automotive electronics and coatings


  • Reflects infrared light
  • Capable of uniform de-icing and defrosting
  • Permits passage of radio frequency signals

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