You’re enjoying a summer day on the beach when you notice your phone’s battery is dying. You forgot to charge it last night. Now how will you spy on your Facebook friends, fire off texts, check scores, and see how much you lost in the market? You can’t very well plug your phone into the sand. What about “plugging it in” to the sun? Engineers at UCLA have developed something called a “polarizing organic photovoltaic” that harvests and recycles energy for electronic devices such as smartphones that use LCDs, or liquid crystal displays. Also used in TV and computer screens, 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 pixels are combined to create images on LCDs.
[small_ad_left]LCD screens are great but quite inefficient as the backlight that lights up the LCD screen can consume 80 to 90 percent of the device’s power. In addition, up to 75 percent of the energy used to power the backlight is lost through these so called polarizers. This new screen technology (see picture in this post) can not only save energy some of the energy lost through the polarizers but can harvest energy from the sun allowing both you and the phone to soak up rays. In essence, the technology makes LCD screens more energy efficient while also making them rechargable (imagine solar powered calculators). Talk about cutting the cord!