1970s. We now have the first commercial applications for liquid crystals after almost 100 years. Hoffman-LaRoche applied for a patent in Switzerland in 1970 for the liquid crystal phenomenon known as the twisted nematic (TN) field effect. Following that, the business granted a license for the technology to the Swiss company Brown, Boveri & Cie (BBC), who created TN displays for watches and other products.
Sharp Corporation began using LCD panels in calculators in 1973. The business quickly followed BBC's example and began mass producing TN LCD watches in 1975.
1980s. Watches were followed by televisions (TVs), with Japan developing the first color LCD TVs as handheld TVs. The first LCD TV was introduced in 1982 by Seiko Epson in the form of the Epson TV Watch, a wristwatch that had a tiny active-matrix LCD TV.
The LCD business was officially launched in Japan by Sharp's announcement of a 14-inch, active-matrix, full-color, full-motion TFT LCD a mere few years later, in 1988. Large-size LCDs were created by this industry, including bigger LCD TVs and TFT computer monitors.
1990s. In the LCD industry, the 1990s gave place to an acceleration of technology. Researchers and inventors made numerous strides that increased contrast and viewing angles while lowering expenses.
2000s. Long-standing CRTs were eclipsed by LCD technology after more than 30 years of rivalry. Particularly, LCD TVs might assert superior image quality to CRT-based TVs in 2007. Thus, for the first time ever, LCD TV sales were higher than CRT TV sales globally in the fourth quarter of 2007.
Let's now quickly review the technology's operation. Essentially, the LCD glass serves only as a light valve that can either let light in or stop it. Here's a summary of our post on "The Anatomy of LCD Displays," which goes into more detail:
This straightforward operation is carried out by the liquid crystal fluid, which is a fluid that is rotated steadily and naturally between two pieces of glass. When paired with front and rear polarizers, this rotation enables light to either pass through the glass unhindered or to be blocked. When a voltage is given to the LC fluid, stopping the rotation of the light, the light blocking condition is altered.
Let's look at the LCD display landscape in the near future to wrap things up. Reel-to-reel manufacturing, flexible displays, and 3D displays are the three main fields of LCD display research.
Adaptable displays. You've undoubtedly already heard a lot of talk about flexible displays, which are bendable screens that are essentially unbreakable and shatterproof.
These displays have advanced in both military and commercial development. Given that flexible displays won't break like regular displays do, they are suitable for many field applications that need for a more durable display, military funding makes sense.
Additionally, flexible displays have a wide range of industrial uses, including items that might use screens that wrap around objects.
3D screens. It should come as no surprise that there is work in this area given the popularity of 3D technology. Viewers can experience depth awareness on these screens, making for a more lifelike user experience.
Specifically, 3D displays with passive glasses (or no glasses) remove the requirement for syncing up with more expensive, active, shutter-based glasses. Naturally, this will lead to cost savings.
Reel-to-Reel Manufacturing. Current manufacturing processes only allow for building one glass panel at a time. Even with great efficiencies, this process is limiting.
In contrast, reel-to-reel manufacturing enables the continuous building of glass panels. This will represent a dramatic reduction in costs, which can be passed along to the customer and allow for more competitive pricing.
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