Low-emissivity (low-E) technology is a unique and cost-effective solution to save energy in buildings for different climates. Its development combines advances in materials science, vacuum deposition, and optical design. In this chapter, we will review the fundamentals of energy saving window coatings, the history of its application, and the materials used. The current low-E coating technologies are overviewed, especially silver-based low-E technologies, which comprise more than 90% of the overall low-E market today. Further, the advanced understanding of generating high-quality silver thin films is discussed, which is at the heart of silver-based low-E product technology development. How the silver thin film electrical, optical, and emissivity properties are influenced by their microstructure, thickness, and by the materials on neighboring layers will be discussed from a theoretical and an experimental perspective.
Part of the book: Modern Technologies for Creating the Thin-film Systems and Coatings