Mobile device users always dream to have mobile devices that can operate truly ‘mobile’ without the need to depend on battery for daily operation. This is possible with certain kinetic or solar energy to electrical energy conversion module built on the system. But none of them looks nice to be integrated into the mobile phone due to its huge size as compared to mobile device’s ultra small form factor. Now, it seems to be a great breakthrough with the new patent filing done by Apple Inc, by able to implementing the solar panel lying behind existing mobile device LCD panel.
There are many advantages of having embedded solar panel. First and most importantly, it doesn’t increase the whole device size significantly (probably only a slight increase of the device thickness due to more stack up layers), as it utilizes the same holding place. By having a multi-layer stack up, the light will able to pass through LCD and being absorbed by solar panel for electrical conversion to take place. The idea has taken care of the worry of having extra casing to cater for the solar panel as well as providing a good way to hide the ugly solar panel. This is especially suitable for those huge screen mobile devices such as Apple iPhone.
Before able to transform the idea into actual implementation, there are few obstacles that the company needs to resolve. One of them is current existing solar technology is not very efficient, only 20-30 percent efficiency and most of the solar energy is expected to dissipate as heat. So, it is crucial to have a suitable thermal management system or else they may end up adding heatsink or fan in future mobile device design.