Due to the immense processing power of smartphones, prolonging battery life is an increasing problem. On top of this, energy efficient is also becoming more and more important for consumers looking to buy electronic devices. Therefore, engineers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have developed an LCD smartphone screen with built-in photovoltaic technology which harnesses the power of the sun.
By acting as a solar panel, the smartphone LCD screen is able to store and recycle energy from all forms of natural light and even the devices own backlight.
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In standard LCD screens, liquid crystal molecules are sandwiched between two polarised sheets that only let a certain amount of a device's backlight shine through. However, LCD polarisers are very inefficient and a device's backlight can consume up to 90 percent of its overall power, as well as losing a terrific amount of light in the process. A polarising organic photovoltaic LCD has the potential to recover lost energy.
“These polarisers 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,” said Project Lead Prof Yang Yang, UCLA.
“In the near future, we would like to increase the efficiency of the polarising organic photovoltaics and eventually we hope to work with electronic manufacturers to integrate our technology into real products.”