Colored solar cells could make display screens more efficient
Jay Guo, a professor in the University of Michigan's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has developed the reflective photovoltaic color filter device that can convert absorbed light to electricity. The research is newly published in the current print edition of ACS Nano.
In traditional LCDs, less than 8 percent of the backlight actually reaches a viewer's eyes. The rest is absorbed by color filters and polarizers, Guo says.
"This absorbed light is totally wasted," he said. "It becomes heat. You can feel it if you put your hand close to a monitor. Why not try to harvest some of this energy?"
The researchers created the new filter by adding organic semiconductor solar cells to an elegant and ultra-thin color filter, similar to what Guo's lab had created over a year ago. That filter is composed of nano-thin sheets of metal with precisely spaced gratings that act as resonators, trapping and reflecting light of a particular color. The color depends only on the amount of space between the slits.
At just 200 nanometers thick, the new filter is 100 times thinner than traditional colorant-based filtersa feature that would be attractive for use in future ultrathin colored display devices.
The paper is titled, "Photonic Color Filters Integrated with Organic Solar Cells for Energy Harvesting." The university is pursuing patent protection for the intellectual property.