Display Technologies

Currently, the world produces about one billion LCD displays per year, which is about 85% of the total number of displays. Modern displays are manufactured using nematic liquid crystals (NLC). The basis for establishing an entire industry of LCD displays is the high efficiency of electro-optic light modulation in NLCs combined with low control power. However, the performance of NLC cells and displays is limited by the physical properties of the NLCs: the maximum frame rate in them is currently not more than 160 Hz and at best can be increased up to 240 Hz.

Why is increasing performance so important? Earlier, increased performance allowed raising the frame rate on a TV screen from 25 to 30-50 Hz to avoid flicker. Then, at a frequency of at least 120 Hz it became possible to receive more vivid color images while reducing the number of display elements by three times due to successive color changes. The next step is using 3D technologies, which require at least doubling the performance – with separate angles for the left and right eyes. At this, the electric voltage applied to the each LCD cell should remain compatible with the integrated circuits used to control the display.

Back in the 1970s, it was discovered that smectic liquid crystals (SLC) with ferroelectric properties and therefore high sensitivity to the action of an electric field, are able to provide a much greater frequency response.

20 years of focused research by staff members of the P.N. Lebedev Physics Institute of the Academy of Sciences (FIAN) resulted in the development of SLC materials and fabrication of experimental display cells with unique characteristics.

The breakthrough was possible through the solution of a number of fundamental physical problems in the field of SLC physics and the development of the physico-chemical and physico-technological fundamentals of creating new SLC materials and SLC display cells reflected in the know-how and the application for a patent of the Russian Federation.

The fact that the developed experimental models of display SLC cells while having electric voltage characteristics similar or even a lower than those of NLC devices, are close to them in the form of modulation characteristics but are 10-15 times faster, allow anticipating the wide use of SLCs in display technology in the near future.

Moreover, the use of high-speed SLC materials will allow developing devices with new functionality that is not yet available due to the limited performance of the NLCs – multi-program and multi-user 3D vision systems, including those not requiring special glasses, high-speed processing, coding and data recognition system, etc.

Since February 2010, thanks to powerful and comprehensive support from the Russian company MEGAVISION, which is a member of the Konti Group, SLC research received a new impulse and work began on creating samples of SLC devices.

MEGAVISION website: www.megavision3D.com