New Optically Rewritable LCDs Can Retain Their Display Without Continuous Electricity

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LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display and is used in a myriad of devices to perform the function of displaying. Like every other displaying device, LCDs also require electrical power to display the image. However, this fact is about to change because a team of researchers from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have designed a very slim LCD screen prototype that can display images without continuous power in 3D as well.optically rewritable LCDs3

We all know how a conventional LCD works and for those who do not, Wikipedia is the place to go. This new LCD has no electrodes, hence the slim size and it makes use of a flash of light to create an image onscreen. The flash makes its way through the polarized glass aligning the liquid crystal molecules without requiring any electrical energy (as opposed to the conventional LCD) to reveal the picture. The crystals will remain aligned until another flash is used to alter them.

The result is optically rewritable LCDs (ORLCDs) that only require power when the flash is generated thus proving itself quite a useful invention – one that can find multiple uses. For instance, look at e-book readers which need a static image for quite some time. Researcher Abhishek Srivastava said, “Because the proposed LCD does not have any driving electronics, the fabrication is extremely simple. The bi-stable feature provides a low power consumption display that can store an image for several years.”

The team also imparted the ability to show images in 3D  through polarizing filters. Objects appear to be in 3D because of the perspective which is the result of separation between our two eyes. The 3D displays make use of two separate images taken from 2 unique angles along with suitable polarized glasses to see.optically rewritable LCDs2

The ORLCD also requires the use of a pair of polarizing glasses to be able to view the image in 3D, however, the cleverness of the researchers have helped them to manage that with only one image. This was achieved by dividing the image into three unique zones. One zone receives light twisted 45 degrees to left, the other with a twist of 45 degrees to right and the third gets unaltered light. The end result is that the light passing through a filter from all three zones gets polarized in different directions, creating a 3D simulation.

The prototype has generated images in greyscale as of now and owing to its refresh rate between images, it is not yet able to display video images. Researchers are, however, confident that they can enable the device to play video images and can also colour the images. Good luck to them!

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