Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Virtuous Circle

Looks aren’t everything. But in the world of computing, as elsewhere, they mean a lot. Your laptop spends much of its power on its pretty graphic screen display. One reason: The light produced to illuminate a conventional flat-panel display has to be polarized, which means stripping away more than half of the light-the part that’s polarized in the wrong direction-and throwing it away. University of Rochester researchers are developing a new class of materials called liquid crystal glass that, when hit by ultraviolet light, emit circularly polarized light with 99 percent efficiency. Circularly polarized light (in which the direction of polarization constantly rotates) makes for brighter screens with better contrast than current displays. Avoiding the need to discard half the light generated would cut power consumption and thus extend battery life; this efficiency might also enable such technologies as 3-D displays. Kaiser Electronics in San Jose, Calif., is exploring display and eyewear applications of the materials.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.