Display or solar cell? Both, in U-M research

A new filter developed at the University of Michigan brings organic semiconductor solar cells into LCD displays, converting wasted light into photovoltaic energy. Applications include boosting the energy efficiency of cell phones and e-readers, creating energy-harvesting billboards, and making solar panels with decorative looks.

October 7, 2011 — A new filter developed at the University of Michigan brings organic semiconductor solar cells into LCD displays, converting wasted light into photovoltaic energy. Applications include boosting the energy efficiency of cell phones and e-readers, creating energy-harvesting billboards, and making solar panels with decorative looks.

Jay Guo, a professor in the University of Michigan’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, developed the reflective 200nm-thick PV color filter device to convert absorbed light to electricity. It is 100x thinner than traditional colorant-based filters and converts 2% of wasted light from LCDs into power.

In traditional LCDs, less than 8% of the backlight actually reaches a viewer’s eyes. The rest is absorbed by color filters and polarizers, Guo says.

Organic semiconductor solar cells were added to an ultra-thin color filter comprising nano-thin metal sheets with precisely spaced gratings that act as resonators, trapping and reflecting a color of light. The color depends on the space between the slits.

The university is pursuing patent protection for the intellectual property (IP).

The research is newly published in the current print edition of ACS Nano. The paper is titled, “Photonic Color Filters Integrated with Organic Solar Cells for Energy Harvesting.” Access it here: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nn201767e

Learn more about Guo’s research group at http://www.eecs.umich.edu/~guo/

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