News FocusMATERIALS RESEARCH SOCIETY’S FALL MEETING AND EXHIBIT

New Lease for Leftover Light

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Science  13 Jan 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6065, pp. 162
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6065.162

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Summary

The most common TV and computer monitors, liquid crystal displays, waste about 75% of the backlight they use to light the screen. Most of it is absorbed by polarizing filters that control how much light passes through each point on the screen in order to produce the desired image. Researchers in California reported at the meeting, however, that they've devised polarizing filters made from organic solar cells that recycle some of this absorbed light. With further improvements, energy captured by the new solar cell filters could noticeably improve lifetimes of cell phones, laptops, and other battery-driven technologies that rely heavily on displays.