who invented lcd display


Who Invented LCD Display? A Brief History of Liquid Crystal Display and Its Inventors

Liquid crystal display or LCD has become an integral part of modern technology. From televisions to smartphones, LCD screens are everywhere. However, the invention of this revolutionary display technology was not a one-man's job. It was the result of the hard work and dedication of several scientists and engineers over the years. In this article, we will explore the history of LCD and the people behind its invention.

1. The Early Days of Liquid Crystals

The story of LCDs goes back to the mid-nineteenth century when scientists first discovered liquid crystals. In 1888, an Austrian botanist named Friedrich Reinitzer was investigating the properties of cholesteryl benzoate when he noticed that the substance went through several phases when it was heated and cooled. He observed that at a specific temperature, the solid turned into a cloudy liquid that eventually became transparent.

This phenomenon was later explained by Otto Lehmann, a German physicist, who discovered that the substance was going through different phases of liquid crystalline state. He went on to study the properties of these liquids, which he called "mesomorphic" materials. However, at that time, liquid crystals had no practical applications, and it was not until several decades later that scientists started exploring their properties further.

2. The Birth of Liquid Crystal Displays

The first practical application of liquid crystals was as a temperature gauge, developed by Richard Williams, a British physicist in 1932. Over the next few years, several scientists experimented with liquid crystals, but it was not until the 1960s that the first liquid crystal displays were developed.

In 1962, Richard Williams' former student George Heilmeier invented the first electronic display using liquid crystals. He discovered that when a voltage was applied to a thin layer of liquid crystal material, it twisted the molecules and changed their optical properties. Heilmeier designed a display using this principle and named it the "dynamic scattering mode" (DSM) device.

3. The Advancements in LCD Technology

The DSM display was a significant breakthrough, but it had several limitations, such as poor contrast, slow switching times, and high power consumption. Over the next few decades, scientists and engineers worked on improving the display technology, resulting in several types of LCDs.

In the 1970s, James Fergason developed the twisted nematic (TN) display, which used a different twisting mechanism that allowed for faster switching times and improved contrast. This type of display became widely used in calculators, digital watches, and other small electronic devices.

In the 1990s, researchers developed the active-matrix liquid crystal display (AMLCD), which used thin-film transistors (TFTs) to control each pixel of the display. This technology allowed for the production of high-resolution displays that were suitable for larger screens, such as televisions and computer monitors.

4. The Inventors Behind the LCD

Several scientists and engineers contributed to the development of the LCD over the years. Aside from Heilmeier and Fergason, here are some of the other notable people behind the invention of LCD.

- Helfrich and Schadt: In the late 1960s, Wolfgang Helfrich and Martin Schadt developed the first twisted nematic (TN) liquid crystal display. Their invention revolutionized the electronics industry by allowing for the production of low-power, high-contrast displays.

- K.G. Patel: In the 1970s, K.G. Patel of RCA Laboratories invented the cholesteric liquid crystal display that reflected different colors depending on the viewing angle. This type of display was used in electronic watches and calculators.

- Peter Brody: In the 1970s, Peter Brody invented the first practical field-effect LCD, an improvement over Heilmeier's DSM display. This invention paved the way for modern LCD technology.

5. The Future of LCD Technology

Over the years, LCD technology has improved significantly, but there is still room for advancement. Researchers are currently exploring the possibilities of new materials such as graphene, which could lead to even more advanced displays.

In conclusion, the invention of the LCD was not the work of a single person but the result of the contributions of several scientists and engineers over the years. Today, LCD technology is ubiquitous, and we cannot imagine our lives without it. As technology advances, we can only imagine what new breakthroughs lie ahead in the field of display technology.


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