This study proposes a slim planar apparatus for converting nonpolarized light from a light-emitting diode (LED) into an ultracollimated linearly polarized beam uniformly emitted from its top surface. The apparatus was designed based on a folded-bilayer configuration comprising a light-mixing collimation element, polarization conversion element, and polarization-preserving light guide plate (PPLGP) with an overall thickness of 5 mm. Moreover, the apparatus can be extended transversally by connecting multiple light-mixing collimation elements and polarization conversion elements in a side-by-side configuration to share a considerably wider PPLGP, so the apparatus can have theoretically unlimited width. The simulation results indicate that the proposed apparatus is feasible for the maximal backlight modules in 39-inch liquid crystal panels. In the case of an apparatus with a 480 × 80 mm emission area and two 8-lumen LED light sources, the average head-on polarized luminance and spatial uniformity over the emission area was 5000 nit and 83%, respectively; the vertical and transverse angular distributions of the emitting light were only 5° and 10°, respectively. Moreover, the average degree of polarization and energy efficiency of the apparatus were 82% and 72%, respectively. As compared with the high-performance ultra-collimated nonpolarized backlight module proposed in our prior work, not only did the apparatus exhibit outstanding optical performance, but also the highly polarized light emissions actually increased the energy efficiency by 100%.
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