The Current Direction of LCD Technology


by Shin-Tson Wu

During this year's annual Society for Information Display meeting in Seattle (Display Week 2010), my former colleague from Hughes Electronics Corporation, Pete Baron, and many other members of the SID Technical Program subcommittees, such as applications, active-matrix devices, LC technology, OLEDs, emissive displays, and CRTs, prepared a historical review on different display technologies over the past 50 years. What amazing achievements have been made! What seemed like small steps eventually became giant steps. For example, in the 1960s, RCA demonstrated the first flat-panel liquid-crystal displays (LCDs) based on dynamic scattering and dichroic dyes – but long-term stability was a concern. Therefore, field effects such as twisted nematic, vertical alignment, and in-plane switching were proposed in the early 1970s. Afterwards, the LCD industry grew steadily and finally took center stage. In the past two decades, we have also witnessed the rapid growth of organic LED technology, but also the dramatic shrinkage of other mature ones, such as CRTs. The display field never runs out of exciting topics. And no matter which technology is utilized, the role of displays in our daily lives keeps increasing. Nowadays, displays are indispensable in cell phones, games, computers, TVs, cameras, data projectors, and many, many more devices.

Common knowledge has it that LCD technology is fairly mature, although the pace of innovation does not appear to be slowing down much (if you saw what we saw at Display Week 2010). So what is next? Well, 3-D, touch screens, and lower power consumption are among the next technology milestones. In this special issue, I have invited researchers from LG Display, AUO, and National Chiao Tung University (Taiwan) to provide an overview of the latest advances in the above-mentioned technical areas.

In the first article, Dr. Jeong Hyun Kim of LG Display reports on advanced 3-D displays with polarized glasses. Both passive and active types of polarizer glasses are discussed. Next, Dr. Su of AUO provides us with an overview of recently developed technologies in the LCD industry: 3-D and touch screens. In the third article, Professor Shieh and Professor Huang from the Display Institute of National Chiao Tung University (Taiwan) address the critically important issue of power consumption and how it can be further reduced. By applying the stencil field-sequential-color approach, the optical efficiency of an LCD could be improved tenfold and future LCD TVs could be powered by a 9-V battery!

I hope you enjoy reading this special issue on advanced LCD technologies. Personally, I cannot wait to buy these next-generation LCD products.


Shin-Tson Wu is Pegasus Professor with the College of Optics and Photonics at the University of Central Florida. He can be reached at