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The spectral characteristics of outdoor structures, such as automobiles, buildings, and clothing, determine their energy interaction with the environment, from broad-spectrum absorption of light energy to high-efficiency thermal emission. Recently developed spectrally selective absorption (SSA) materials permit the reduction of energy loss from human habitat eco-system in the sustainable way and further reduce the utilization of fossil energy to achieve carbon neutrality. Here we review recent advances in SSA materials that enable rational and efficient management of thermal energy and provide new solutions for the resource base that supports human life like comfortable heat management, electricity production, and water supply. The basic principles of thermal photonic management, the regulation of SSA materials, and functional properties are summarized. An outlook discussing challenges and opportunities in SSA material energy management for comfortable living environments is finally presented, which expects the enormous potential of this interdisciplinary research in solving growing resource-shortage of human society.

Publication history
Copyright
Acknowledgements

Publication history

Received: 23 April 2023
Revised: 05 June 2023
Accepted: 11 June 2023
Published: 25 August 2023
Issue date: January 2024

Copyright

© Tsinghua University Press 2023

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 52022051, 22035005, 22075165, 52090032, and 52073159) and Tsinghua-Foshan Innovation Special Fund (No. 2020THFS0501).

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