Brightness enhancement of backlighting for displays is typically achieved via crossed micro prismatic films that are introduced between a backlight unit and a transmissive (LCD) display. Prismatic films let pass light only into a restricted angular range, while, in conjunction with other reflective elements below the backlight, all other light is recycled within the backlight unit, thereby increasing the backlight luminance. This design offers no free parameters to influence the resulting light distribution and suffers from insufficient stray light control. A novel strategy of light recycling is introduced, using a microlens array in conjunction with a hole array in a reflective surface, that can provide higher luminance, superior stray light control, and can be designed to meet almost any desired emission pattern. Similar strategies can be applied to mix light from different colored LEDs being mounted upside down to shine into a backlight unit.© (2006) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.