Switchable Mirrors Based on Nickel-Magnesium Films
An electrochromic mirror electrode based on reversible uptake of hydrogen in nickel magnesium alloy films is reported. Thin, magnesium-rich Ni-Mg films prepared on glass substrates by cosputtering from Ni and Mg targets are mirror-like in appearance and have low visible transmittance. Upon exposure to hydrogen gas or on cathodic polarization in alkaline electrolyte, the films take up hydrogen and become transparent. When hydrogen is removed, the mirror properties are recovered. The transition is believed to result from reversible formation of Mg2NiH4 and MgH2. A thin overlayer of palladium was found to enhance the kinetics of hydrogen insertion and extraction, and to protect the metal surface against oxidation.