Can LCDs Experience ‘Ghost’ Images?

Dec 9, 2019

Liquid-crystal display (LCD) has become the world’s leading type of display technology. You can find TVs, computer monitors, smartphones, tablets and other display devices featuring LCD technology. If you’re thinking about a purchasing an LCD, though, you might be wondering whether they are susceptible to ghost images.

What Are Ghost Images?

The term “ghost image” refers to a phenomenon in which an image — either a complete image or part of an image — becomes permanent on a display device. Images, of course, should only appear temporarily on display devices. Regardless of what type of display device you use, the image should change in response to your input. When a display device suffers from a ghost image, the image will persist even after changing the input or turning the device off.

What Causes Ghost Images?

Also known as screen burn-in, ghost images are the result of uneven pixel luminescence. Certain types of display devices use phosphor compounds for their pixels. During operation, the phosphor-based pixels will emit light, which is responsible for creating the display device’s colored images.

The problem is that phosphor-based pixels will lose some of their luminescence with regular use. Therefore, if a particular image persists on the display device for a long period, the phosphor-based pixels will emit different amounts of light, resulting in the creation of a ghost image.

Why LCDs Are Protected Against Ghost Images

The good news is that LCDs are naturally protected against ghost images because they don’t use phosphor-based pixels. LCDs, as the name suggests, use liquid pixels, which are typically comprised of organic compounds. Without phosphor-based pixels, LCDs are immune to ghost images.

Ghost images can only occur if a display device has a phosphor-based pixels. In the past, cathode-ray tube (CRT) was a popular display technology. Because CRTs use phosphor-based pixels, though, they often succumb to ghost images after regular usage.

The bottom line is that LCDs don’t suffer from ghost images because they don’t contain phosphor-based pixels. Ghost images can only develop in display devices with phosphor-based pixels, such as CRTs.

While LCDs don’t suffer from ghost images, they can suffer from image persistence. Image persistence is similar to ghost images, with both phenomenons causing images to persist after the display device has been turned off. The difference, however, is that ghost images are permanent, whereas image persistence — the phenomenon to which LCDs are susceptible — is temporary.

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