Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Multifunctional Thin Film Stack Based Plasmonic Color Filters

Technology #4628

Questions about this technology? Ask a Technology Manager

Download Printable PDF

Lingjie Jay Guo
Managed By
Joohee Kim
Licensing Specialist, Physical Sciences & Engineering 734-764-8202
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending
US Patent Pending


Almost all computing devices today contain liquid crystal displays (LCDs). However, LCDs exhibit poor efficiencies. Only about 3-8% of light produced by an LCD backlight is converted into a viewable image, and LCD screens can use up to 33% of a laptop’s power. Since LCD screens occupy a large fraction of a computing device’s surface area, and are often exposed to ambient light, they are ideal candidates for energy harvesting using photovoltaics.


Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a technology for LCD color filters that can harvest energy from ambient light using integrated photovoltaics. The underlying structures used in this technology obviate the need for a liquid crystal alignment layer, polarizer sheets, and transparent electrodes, thereby making the LCD cheaper and easier to manufacture. The proposed technology is thin-film-stack-based, and can be configured as an energy harvesting transmission color filter or a reflective color filter.


  • Energy harvesting LCD displays
  • TVs, smartphones, desktop and laptop computers, tablets
  • Car navigation screens, LCD signs, e-paper
  • Devices that utilize standby mode for large portions of time


  • Lower costs, and ease of manufacturing
  • Fewer processing steps
  • Reuse of structures
  • More efficient use of chemical materials
  • Enhanced device battery life