Even a cursory glance around the business world of today is in high definition – thanks to the way LCD screens are becoming a key part of those daily operations. Whether it’s for marketing, advertising, or revolutionizing the way communication takes place with both customers and staff, advanced LCD technology is now within the grasp of businesses of every type, industry and budgetary power.
But in truth, whether consumer or business operator, we’ve all been using LCD for years – our TVs, smartphones, computer monitors, watches, clocks and calculators all operate on the basis of this ingenious idea. So as we begin to ponder the next exciting steps for LCD, as the displays get ever thinner, lighter, brighter, faster and more interactive, it’s worth getting back to basics and consider how it all even works in the first place.
LCD – The Liquid Crystal Display that is here to stay
The heart of the LCD screen is the embedded ‘liquid crystals’ – a material that is somewhere between what we would regard as a liquid and solid crystals. This ‘half-way’ state means the liquid can flow but still exist in a predictable and solid state. The screen is then back-lit to light up the red, blue and green crystals which rapidly turn themselves on and off with the help of transistors, existing within an array of millions of ‘pixels’ – a word concocted to combine “picture” and “element”.
To dig even deeper into the impressive workings of LCD screens, it’s necessary to dig a little deeper into how the main technologies work together to produce the images we see with our humble eyes:
1. The polarized glass
The impressive thing about polarized glass is that the light waves will only pass through at the correct angle – with the result being that more light is blocked than passes through. In LCD screens, two polarized glass ‘sandwich’ the crystals, and are arranged at 90 degrees so that light does pass through – with a ‘quirk’ to the design. That quirk is that when an electric field passes through the crystals, it means light can no longer pass through, making the pixel appear black. The technology then allows varying degrees of deformation through the 90 degrees, delivering the various shades of color that give the picture such clarity.
2. The crystal molecules
As outlined in the introduction, liquid crystals really are a fascinating technology. The properties that make the magic happen is not just that they react predictably to temperature, but that they control the path of the polarized light. Not just that, the molecules themselves are rod-shaped, so that they can move around but always with their long axes aligned.
3. Transparent conductive materials
When we dig deep into the world of LCD technologies, it’s clear that the market value of something called transparent conductive film is soaring – and it’s not hard to understand why. The most prominent transparent conductive material is indium – the oxide of tin. It, and other similar materials, are used for the touch-screen elements of ultra-modern LCD technologies, thanks to their ability to allow in light (transparency) whilst being able to play the role of a switch by conducting electricity according to the user’s touch without it being visible on the screen or disturbing the image.
From the digital watch and calculator to today’s stunning LCD screens, it is clear that this is a technology that is constantly reinventing itself. Carbon-based transistors have paved the way for curved surfaces, screens are appearing without the bezel or borders, LCDs are becoming wearable, and the next generation of technology will mean LCD can exist in everyday objects and surfaces. So as LCD continues to evolve and change the world, it’s crucial that your business evolves and changes at the same rate to wield the full power of one of the most flexible and potential-filled technologies ever devised.