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Whilst smartphone technology has advanced severely over the last decade or so, with multicore processors and touch-sensitive screens to name a few, the battery life of many phones still remains a tenacious issue. However, one ingenious researcher at the London Centre of Nanotechnology has managed to solve these problems with tiny solar cells, behind the smartphone's display.
Allegedly, only 36% of light produced by an OLED display is projected outwards; the rest is waste energy, whether it scatters or 'bleeds' from the edge of the display. However Arman Ahnood, the researcher, has created photovoltaic cells (solar cells) which line up along the back and sides of OLED screens, thus capturing the wasted light and harvesting it as solar energy. Considering OLED or LCD screens are not opaque, not only do they collect the wasted light, the surrounding light, be it from the Sun or a bedroom lamp will also add to the amounted energy conservation. The preserved energy is then used to recharge the batteries of your phone whilst you are using it.
Currently, Ahnood's system has an efficient of 11%, which isn't a lot. The next step for Ahnood and other researchers is to up the efficiency to 90%, where at that point the system, consisting of a super-capacitor and some circuitry, would be able to sufficiently extend the battery life by several hours. The days of using of chargers could well be numbered, but for now we'll have to rely on our daily charge.