Attached to the external skin of the radiator panels on satellites and spacecraft are metamaterial optical solar reflectors (meta-OSRs), which play a vital role in the systems’ thermal control. The first-surface coatings are designed specifically to reject solar radiation, keeping heat away. These OSRs are typically made of quartz tiles, but they are heavy and fragile, adding to both the assembly and launch costs; quartz tiles also cannot be added to curved surfaces.
A team of researchers believe they have developed new technology that is enabled by the use of metal oxide. Also demonstrated by the team was a “smart” radiator based on their metamaterial design that allows the tuning of the radiative cooling of the spacecraft using another type of metal oxide. The researchers are currently working on upscaling the prototypes.
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