Solar Power? Innovation Brings New Meaning to the Big Screen iPhone

What if the iPhone 6L or the iPad Air will be powered by the sun?

A new discovery made by researchers at Michigan State University may be the starting point for touch screen devices powered by the sun light. This is the first transparent layer of glass that can harvest energy from the sun, or a light source. 
They call it transparent luminescent solar concentrator and it can be used both on building cell phones or any type of device that has a big screen. The research in this field is not new, but so far, the materials used as solar energy concentrators were colored. With transparency comes the idea of using that in an iPad or an iPhone. 
Apple's new Social Media and Digital Marketing Manager, Musa Tariq, has tweeted about this new technology and he calls it "a game changer." 
The tweet had a link to a story by ScienceDaily talking about this new way of harvesting the sun light. It uses small organic molecules developed by a team lead by Richard Lund from MSU's College of Engineering. Lund explains "the materials can be tuned to pick up just the ultraviolet and the near infrared wavelengths and the glow at another wavelength in the infrared."
The trick is that the materials do not absorb or emit light in the visible spectrum so they look like they are just a piece of glass, transparent to the human eye. As expected, these can be turned into many industrial applications from buildings with large windows, getting the energy an office needs, to tablets that can be self-powered. 
The panels are not yet ready for prime time. They need to work more in order to improve the energy-producing efficiency. Lund explained how there are currently close to 1 percent efficiency, but they aim for 5 percent when fully optimized. A colored material with the same properties has an efficiency of 7 percent. 
Apple would need such a glass for their iPad Air or larger iPhone 6 model. Just imagine a device using this glass coated with a thin layer of sapphire for durability.

The iPad's battery would hold for weeks. If only Apple could find a way to harvest energy from the sun and, in the same time, make sure the iPhone or iPad does not get too hot to be used. This would be a great reason for any device to have a larger screen, or for Apple to go back to the iPhone 4 design, when the back of the phone was made out of glass as well. 

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