Paul Berdahl

Paul Berdahl



Paul is a physicist who received his Ph. D. from Stanford University in theoretical physics. Most of his research is in the areas of applied solid-state physics, and in environmental physics.  Paul is affiliated with the Heat Island Group of our Division's Energy Analysis Program.

Current research interests include:

  1. Fluorescent pigments that re-radiate solar radiation, for cool roofing
  2. Combustion synthesis of mixed metal oxides
  3. Spectral and angular optical properties of rough and soiled surfaces
  4. Calorimetric measurements using sunlight

Recently, Paul has investigated how surface roughness reduces the solar reflectance of materials, the soiling and weathering of roofing materials and the destruction of air pollutants by photocatalytic oxidation using the semiconductor TiO2.

Prior to Paul's (semi-) retirement in 2005, he worked on synthesis of high-temperature superconducting YBa2Cu3O7 tapes (with R. Russo and R. Reade). World record critical current values were achieved in 1992. Other topics were infrared luminescence of the semiconductor InSb, infrared radiative cooling, longwave radiative transfer in the atmosphere, and the availability of the solar radiation resource.


2016 R&D 100 Award: Cool Roof Time Machine -  November 09th 2016

A Berkeley Lab-led team of scientists established a method to simulate soiling and weathering of roofing material, reproducing in the lab in only a few days what would naturally take three years. This “cool roof time machine” protocol has been approved by ASTM International, a widely referenced standards body, as a standard practice for the industry, and is expected to accelerate deployment of cool roofs, which have been shown to reduce a building’s energy use and mitigate the urban heat island effect.

R&D Magazine’s annual R&D 100 Awards recognize the top 100 technology products from industry, academia, and government-sponsored research. For more information on the awards, see the links below.