A brightly lit smart phone display looks good, but drains the battery quickly. Much of this can be blamed on a screen component called a polarizer. Light points in all directions, which can be mathematically broken down into two parts that are perpendicular to each other. A polarizer allows only one of the two to pass through, which is required for liquid-crystal display (LCD) screens to work but wastes at least 50% of the light. In practice, most polarizers waste much more. In a study published this month in Optica, researchers report a newly designed polarizer with much higher energy efficiency. The scientists etched a 3D nanoscale pattern on a piece of silicon, which enabled the polarizer to interact with and manipulate light. When they shone infrared light through their polarizer, the pattern on the silicon allowed light in one direction to pass through and rotated its perpendicular counterpart by 90°, thereby letting it pass through as well. The researchers achieved a maximum polarizer efficiency of 74%, they report. The technique needs to be extended to visible light before it can be utilized in LCDs and extend devices’ battery lives. But the team says that if it can optimize the approach, such displays could extend battery life and enable brighter screen settings in future smart phones.
Share by the numbersIn 2013, Share of Vancouver:o Sheltered 1,400 homeless people.o Served nearly 90,000 hot meals.o Helped an average of 100 households per month with housing subsidies, other support.SOURCE: sharevancouver.orgWith fewer people coming to the Clark County Public Service Center to get property deeds and other legal documents recorded, fewer fees are landing in the bank account of Share Vancouver.Share, Clark County’s leading nonprofit agency serving the homeless and hungry, is expecting a reduction in county funding of at least $150,000 next year. “There are a lot less deeds being recorded and the fund is smaller,” Share Executive Director Diane McWithey said. A funding cut that size doesn’t sound like much, but McWithey said that Share’s 2015 budget is already set at $5.7 million, and that $2.5 million of that is “pass-through money.”“It is rental subsidies and deposits, transportation funds — money that comes into Share but immediately turns around and goes out for a client,” McWithey said. Share’s “true operational budget is $3.2 million, and we run an extremely lean machine. There is not room to make cuts.”McWithey said Share already cut most of its staff training budget, implemented a salary and hiring freeze, and is prepared to draw from its reserves if a new fundraising campaign is unsuccessful.