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LCD polarizer greatly increases display backlighting efficiency

Technology News |
By eeNews Europe


LCDs work by using two polarized sheets that let only a certain amount of a device’s backlight pass through. Tiny liquid crystal molecules are sandwiched between the two polarizers, and these crystals can be switched by tiny transistors to act as light valves. Manipulating each light valve, or pixel, lets a certain amount of the backlight escape; millions of such pixels are combined to create images on LCDs.

The UCLA Engineering team created a new type of energy-harvesting polarizer for LCDs called a polarizing organic photovoltaic, which can potentially boost the function of an LCD by working simultaneously as a polarizer, a photovoltaic device and an ambient light or sunlight photovoltaic panel.

UCLA researcher Yang Yang said he believes the group’s invention could have a game-changing significance in the field of LCD backlighting efficiency. "These polarizers can also be used as regular solar cells to harvest indoor or outdoor light. So next time you are on the beach, you could charge your iPhone via sunlight," Yang Yang said.

From the point of view of energy use, current LCD polarizers are inefficient, the researchers said. A device’s backlight can consume 80 to 90 percent of the device’s power. But as much as 75 percent of the light generated is lost through the polarizers. A polarizing organic photovoltaic LCD could recover much of that unused energy.

"The polarizing organic photovoltaic cell demonstrated by Professor Yang’s research group can potentially harvest 75 percent of the wasted photons from LCD backlight and turn them back into electricity," said Youssry Botros, program director for the Intel Labs Academic Research Office, which supported the research. "The strong collaboration between this group at UCLA Engineering and other top groups has led to higher cell efficiencies, increasing the potential for harvesting energy. This approach is interesting in its own right and at the same time synergetic with several other projects we are funding through the Intel Labs Academic Research Office."

The group’s research findings are currently available in the online edition of the journal Advanced Materials and will be published in a forthcoming print issue of the journal.


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