Zhao, L., Strobach, E., Bhatia, B., Yang, S., Leroy, A., Zhang, L., & Wang, E. N. (2019). Theoretical and experimental investigation of haze in transparent aerogels. Optics Express, 27(4), A39. https://doi.org/10.1364/oe.27.000a39
Haze in optically transparent aerogels severely degrades the visual experience, which has prevented their adoption in windows despite their outstanding thermal insulation property. Previous studies have primarily relied on experiments to characterize haze in aerogels, however, a theoretical framework to systematically investigate haze in porous media is lacking. In this work, we present a radiative transfer model that can predict haze in aerogels based on their physical properties. The model is validated using optical characterization of custom-fabricated, highly-transparent monolithic silica aerogels. The fundamental relationships between the aerogel structure and haze highlighted in this study could lead to a better understanding of light-matter interaction in a wide range of transparent porous materials and assist in the development of low-haze silica aerogels for high-performance glazing units to reduce building energy consumption.