How LCD Displays Work

Oct 10, 2017

Liquid-crystal display (LCD) is a popular type of technology used in electronic displays. As the name suggests, it’s characterized by the use of liquid-filled crystals to produce images. Because liquid crystals have light-modulating properties, LCDs are particularly effective for this purpose. The liquid crystals don’t necessarily produce the light used to create the images. Rather, they “propagate” light created by a separate device (backlight). To learn more about LCD displays and how they work, keep reading.

The Basics of LCD Displays

While there are several different configurations for LCD displays, most are designed in the same basic manner. They work by using liquid crystals to produce an image. The liquid crystals are embedded into the display screen, and there’s some form of backlight used to illuminate them. The actual liquid crystal display is made of several layers, including a polarized filter and electrodes. When the backlight is activated, it produces light that is somewhat obstructed by the liquid crystals. And this obstruction is essentially what creates the images we see in LCD displays.

Of course, a backlight is an essential component of an LCD display. Without a backlight, an LCD display wouldn’t be able to produce the visible images. Some of the most common types of backlights used in LCD displays include the following:

  • Cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFL)
  • EL-WLED array
  • WLED array
  • RGB-LED array

Benefits of LCD Displays

There are several benefits associated with LCD displays, one of which is the simple fact that they do not suffer from image burn-in. Commonly found in other electronic displays, image burn-in is a phenomenon that occurs when the image remains in the display after it has been changed. If the user pauses or otherwise leaves the image on the screen for a long period of time, it may become “burned into” the display. Thankfully, this isn’t a problem with LCDs, as they don’t use phosphorus compounds.

It’s also worth mentioning that LCD displays are significantly thinner and more compact than traditional CRT monitors. This is why you see so computer monitors using LCD technology instead of the now-dated CRT technology. Furthermore, LCD displays offer a sharp image resolution with no bleeding, assuming they are operated at native resolution. Finally, LCDs aren’t affected by the Earth’s magnetic field, which is something that cannot be said about other electronic displays. These are just a few reasons why LCD displays are preferred over other display types.

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