A liquid crystal is a material (normally organic for LCDs) that will flow like liquidbut
has some properties normally associated with solids. The LCD has thedistinct advantage of having low power requirement than the LED.
) areused -- inlaptopcomputers,digital clocks andwatches,microwaveovens,CDplayersandmany other electronic devices. LCDs are common because they offer some real advantagesover other display technologies. They are thinner and lighter and draw much lesspower thancathode ray tubes(CRTs).But just what are these thingscalled liquid crystals? The name"liquid crystal" sounds like acontradiction. We think of a crystalas a solid material like quartz,usually as hard as rock, and a liquidis obviously different. How couldany material combine the two?In this article, you'll find out how liquid crystals pull off this amazing trick, and wewill look at the underlying technology that makes LCDs work. You'll also learnhow the strange characteristics of liquid crystals have been used to create a newkind of shutter and how grids of these tiny shutters open and close to makepatterns that represent numbers, words or images!
We learned in school that there are three common states of matter: solid, liquidor gaseous.
act the way they do because their molecules always maintain
Today, LCDs are everywhere we look, but they didn't sprout upovernight. It took a long time to get from the discovery of liquid crystalsto the multitude of LCD applications we now enjoy. Liquid crystals werefirst discovered in 1888, by Austrian botanist
.Reinitzer observed that when he melted a curious cholesterol-likesubstance (
), it first became a cloudy liquid andthen cleared up as its temperature rose. Upon cooling, the liquid turnedblue before finally crystallizing. Eighty years passed before
madethe first experimental LCD in 1968. Since then, LCD manufacturers havesteadily developed ingenious variations and improvements on thetechnology, taking the LCD to amazing levels of technical complexity.
A simple LCD display from a calculator