How the Pixels in an LCD Are Powered

Sep 14, 2021

Pixels are an important part of a liquid-crystal display (LCD). All display devices, including LCDs, are comprised of many small elements that form their respective images. Known as pixels, they are typically arranged in a grid. LCDs produce images by illuminating these pixels with either red, green or blue light.

To say LCDs have a lot of pixels would be an understatement. Depending on the specific resolution, an LCD may have over 6 million pixels. Each of these small elements is responsible for producing images. Pixels, however, must be powered to perform this task. How are the pixels in an LCD powered exactly?

Wire Grid

Most LCDs use a grid of wires to power their pixels. The pixels are placed in a layer. Underneath the pixel layer is an arrangement of vertical wires. Above the pixel layer, conversely, is an arrangement of horizontal wires. Together, these wires form a grid, which is responsible for powering the pixels.

The wires are placed on separate sides of the pixel layer so that each pixel has a positive and negative connection. When an LCD is turned on, the grid of wires will power its pixels, resulting in the production of images.

The Backlighting

While it doesn’t necessarily power the pixels, backlighting is an equally important part of all LCDs. LCDs can’t produce light — at least not without a separate lighting system. This doesn’t apply to all display devices. There are some display devices, such as organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) that can, in fact, produce light without a separating lighting system. For LCDs, though, backlighting is needed to illuminate the pixels.

There are different types of backlighting for LCDs. Some LCDs use edge-lit backlighting, whereas others use direct-lit backlighting. Edge-lit backlighting lives up to its namesake by featuring a perimeter of bulbs — typically light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs — around the edge of the display. Direct-lit backlighting, on the other hand, features a panel of bulbs directly behind the pixel layer.

In Conclusion

LCDs work by using a wire gird and backlighting to produce images. The wire grid is actually two layers of wires. One of the layers consists of vertical wires, and the other layer consists of vertical wires. The pixel layer is sandwiched between them where it receives power. Along with backlighting, this wire grid is a necessary component that allows LCDs to produce images.

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