Microsoft Envisions The Next-generation LCD


Seattle (WA) - Scientists from Microsoft Research and the University of Washington claim to have developed a new display technology that could be four times as efficient in terms of backlight transmission as today’s LCDs and display perfect black color. At the same time the display technology could be manufactured economically, the researchers claim. Their idea: Telescopic pixels that are equipped with a pair of mirrors.

You can purchase pretty impressive displays for entertainment and computing purposes today. Depending on your budget, you can get fancy new technologies that provide slimmer form factors, high contrast ratios and brightness levels as well as fast response times.

Microsoft researchers believe that there is still room for improvement and they feel that their telescopic pixel innovation may lead the way to displays with much higher contrast ratios and brighter colors. According to the scientists, liquid crystals in LCDs cannot completely block light in the off state and are in many cases unusable in bright light. "LCDs transmit only 5-10% of the backlight, because of the polarizer, which blocks more than 50% of the light. Also, each color filter transmits only 30% of the remainder of the light, and there are some additional layers that decrease transmission even further," a paper published in Nature states. Telescopic pixels could solve this problem.

These pixels are equipped with a pair of opposing mirrors, which completely can contain light within a pixel and produce a perfect black color. Using an electrical charge, the shape of one mirror can change its shape from planar to approximately parabolic, diverting the light beam to another mirror that will send the beam through the pixel and make the pixel visible on the outside. The researchers claim that this technology can transmit 36% of the backlight, up from about 9% in the most efficient technologies available today. The electrical charge could be applied very quickly, achieve display response times of 1.5 ms, the researchers said.

Considering the fact that there are already about 2 million pixels in today’s HD displays and future displays may go more than 8 million (quad HD) or even 12 million (4K) pixels, installing mirrors in every pixels sounds complicated and expensive. However, the scientists said that such a display could not only support a "high" image resolution, but can be made "from relatively cheap materials, and is compatible with liquid crystal display production processes."

There was no information when the technology could be put into production.

  • bf2gameplaya
    Great, except that this technology has a current contrast ration of 20:1, that's right t-w-e-n-t-y.

    Why the industry is still spinning their wheels with this eye-sore of a technology, is beyond me. Let's move far past LCDs, quickly!
  • eklipz330
    i would like to know where you got that info from bf2
    not trying to put you down, just interested
  • "The opening in the membrane is smaller than the secondary mirror to minimize diffraction leakage through the pixel. The first prototype's contrast ratio was 20:1, mainly due to the use of non-collimated back light. This was a limitation of the current prototype, not of the technology. This is supported by simulations (see Supplementary Information, Fig. S5), which show that a ratio of at least 800:1 is possible. The software used for the simulations was a finite-difference time-domain program (OptiFDTD, Optiwave)."

    its the link ,to the paper published in nature , in this article.
  • kelfen
    I still love the response time :O
  • bf2gameplaya
    eklipz330i would like to know where you got that info from bf2not trying to put you down, just interested
    For your edification you should get into the habit of reading the source articles, especially when they are conveniently hotlinked.

    I do, see how smart it makes me look? :)