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A new grating pattern allows more light to pass through the filter to enhance efficiency

A new color filter developed by researchers at the University of Michigan could enhance LCD efficiency by 400 percent.

Professor L. Jay Guo and his team have created an optical film that both polarizes and colors the light that passes through an LCD, which replaces the multiple layers of optical devices that traditionally played the same role. With the use of these conventional layers, an LCD would only emit eight percent of the light produced by its backlight. With the newly developed film, 36 percent of light is emitted, which is an increase that enhances overall LCD efficiency. 

The new color filter consists of two thin aluminum layers enclosing a type of insulating material, and is less than 200 nanometers thick. It also contains slits that create different colors when the backlight illuminates them, and they are "matched in scale to the wavelength of visible light" and their "length and distance apart determine the color produced."

What really increases LCD efficiency is the grating pattern, which enhances efficiency by 400 percent. Instead of absorbing half the light with the wrong polarization like current LCD polarizing filters, the new filter reflects the light toward a mirror that "flips" some of its polarization and allows more light to pass through the filter.

But Guo's new filter doesn't only apply to color displays. It can also be applied to solar cells to control polarizations and reflections of light. In addition, Nicholas Fang from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign noted that these filter's could be combined with Qualcomm's new low-power reflective displays to eliminate backlights altogether. 

The next step, according to Guo and his team, is to find a way to mass produce these new filters and integrate them into several types of technological devices like televisions and cell phones.

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Professor Guo
By Kiffberet on 9/8/2010 8:02:10 AM , Rating: 5
Ever noticed how most of the professors in American universities have east Asian names?

RE: Professor Guo
By angryplayer on 9/8/2010 8:06:28 AM , Rating: 5
Shhh! No one's supposed to know China's secret world domination plan!

RE: Professor Guo
By wushuktl on 9/8/2010 8:28:52 AM , Rating: 3
I thought the same thing and was going to make a comment about it myself. Also the Nicholas Fang in the article is possibly Chinese as well. I, for one, think it's great. After all, someone had to pick up the slack.

RE: Professor Guo
By Omega215D on 9/8/2010 9:00:58 AM , Rating: 4
I dunno... I wish my name was Nick Fang. Sounds like a comic book character.

RE: Professor Guo
By Motoman on 9/8/2010 11:37:09 AM , Rating: 1
No, he's definitely Chinese. "Fang" is the Chinese word for "tooth of a canine and/or vampire."

RE: Professor Guo
By AstroGuardian on 9/8/2010 9:26:46 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe he is a snake or was in his previous life :D

RE: Professor Guo
By BZDTemp on 9/8/2010 10:14:27 AM , Rating: 2
Or he could be a wampire!

Hmm, considering the lingo of True Blood that would his significant other a Fang... :-)

I need to watch less TV!

RE: Professor Guo
By DanD85 on 9/8/2010 11:59:17 AM , Rating: 2
Has anybody feel just a little bit uneasy when Chinese name keep popping up here and there in technological breakthrough?

RE: Professor Guo
By neogrin on 9/8/2010 2:15:25 PM , Rating: 4
Has anybody feel just a little bit uneasy when Chinese name keep popping up here and there in technological breakthrough?

Not me. I'm just happy the breakthroughs are happening at the University of Michigan or University of Washington (or anywhere else in the US) regardless of the name of the person who discovered it.

RE: Professor Guo
By ClownPuncher on 9/8/2010 3:27:59 PM , Rating: 3
No. It's called a "Brain Drain" and we kick ass at it.

RE: Professor Guo
By PaterPelligrino on 9/8/2010 11:56:57 PM , Rating: 3
Get used to it babe.

China isn't a poor country that came out of nowhere. What underlies development is culture. The last two hundred years have been the anomaly. The Chinese have always been a brilliant people.

For most of the past 2000 years China has been one of the most developed nations on earth. As recently as the early 19th century - the early Qing dynasty - 30% of the world's economic activity is estimated to have taken place within China's borders. The Han, Tang, Song and Ming dynasties dominated the eastern world just as Rome did the West.

The Chinese want to reclaim their place in the world and science and tech are seen as the keys to prosperity. It's schools graduate huge numbers of scientists and engineers each year. The best come to the US - tho increasing numbers opt to return to China after establishing themselves over here - and it is inevitable that they show up in these tech papers.

The post-WW2 economic world order in which we all developed our ideas of what is normal in the world, was highly favorable to the US. Things are now returning to a more balanced state.

Interestingly, the now-rich Japanese, who were in the position of the Chinese 50 years ago, now complain that their young people no longer seem interested in putting in all the years of hard work necessary to excel in the hard sciences - exactly what has happened in the US.

RE: Professor Guo
By AnnihilatorX on 9/10/2010 12:39:58 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't know Americans are this xenophobic, considering there are so many races in US

RE: Professor Guo
By Roffles on 9/8/2010 2:25:26 PM , Rating: 5
That's because all the young Caucasian American would-be professors are too busy preparing for the starring role in their real life rap video.

RE: Professor Guo
By boobo on 9/8/2010 5:19:10 PM , Rating: 2
Most of my professors did not have an Asian name. However, most of my professors who actually made the news, did.

Back light bleed
By Kurz on 9/8/2010 7:54:48 AM , Rating: 2
Hopefully when/if this product comes to market I hope it improves backlight bleed and not make it worse than it already is.

RE: Back light bleed
By Omega215D on 9/8/2010 8:23:31 AM , Rating: 2
I thought LED backlighting helps lessen or eliminate this problem as the lighting is more uniformed.

RE: Back light bleed
By Kurz on 9/8/2010 9:23:37 AM , Rating: 2
LED is more directional yes, though it still suffers a bit from backlight bleep.

RE: Back light bleed
By Kurz on 9/8/2010 9:45:57 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Back light bleed
By FITCamaro on 9/8/2010 10:07:53 AM , Rating: 2
Also depends on the type of LED backlighting.

If its edge lit, its more likely to bleed.

If it uses multiple areas of backlighting throughout the panel (forget the technical term), its less likely since all the light isn't produced on the edges.

RE: Back light bleed
By RedemptionAD on 9/8/2010 8:23:51 PM , Rating: 2
If it bleeds we can kill it.

400 % more energy efficient?
By stlrenegade on 9/8/2010 11:59:55 AM , Rating: 2
So, will it pump electricity back into the grid and make my house's electric bill cheaper? :)

RE: 400 % more energy efficient?
By acer905 on 9/8/2010 12:45:10 PM , Rating: 2
More efficient = less energy used
400% more efficient = 400% less energy used
400% = 4x
4x less energy used = Current Usage/4

Your statement makes no sense

RE: 400 % more energy efficient?
By JediJeb on 9/8/2010 1:37:14 PM , Rating: 2
So if something uses 25% less energy then it is actually using more energy?

You should use numbers above 100 for taking more energy and numbers less than 100 for taking less energy. 400% less is just marketing speak trying to make it sound like something amazing. Like saying a freezer that is at -20C is 20 times colder than a freezer at -1C. Technically there is no such thing as colder, since what you measure is the amount of heat not the amount of cold.

By foolsgambit11 on 9/8/2010 3:37:18 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that 400% better is a little misleading, but not for the same reasons you say. In this case, the numbers do have real meaning.

Let's say you want to have 100 nits (for simplicity's sake only) come through the LCD. At the 8% efficiency for a traditional LCD, you need a 1250-nit backlight. At 36% for this method, you only need a roughly 278-nit backlight. Assuming equal efficiencies from socket to photon for both light sources, that is less than 22.3% of the power - better than the OP's 25% statement. Of course, overall screen efficiency improvements would have to take in the power draw of the LCD screens themselves, and while I know that's small in relation to the backlight, I'm not sure what it is exactly, and I certainly don't know if this new method is equivalent from a power perspective.

The big if in all of this is whether this new method can be mass produced in a cost-effective manner. So many of these exciting breakthroughs go nowhere because they can't jump that hurdle.

RE: 400 % more energy efficient?
By Ormand on 9/8/2010 6:17:24 PM , Rating: 2
If one process is 96% efficient, and another is 98% efficient- is one twice as efficient as the other? Is one half as inefficient as the other? It's a semantic game, and is often used by politicians and ad agencies.

By HomerTNachoCheese on 9/8/2010 8:35:27 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe with the polarization of the light that gets through they can take it a step further towards 3D sets that work with the cheap movie theater polarized 3D glasses rather than $100+ 3D glasses.

RE: Polarization
By FITCamaro on 9/8/2010 3:53:03 PM , Rating: 3
I'm just waiting for holodecks.

RE: Polarization
By monkeyman1140 on 9/13/2010 5:56:16 PM , Rating: 2
You just want to make it with Counselor Troi.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
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