What Does LCD Stand For

Buyers may ask "What does LCD stand for?" when shopping for a new TV. LCD stands for "liquid crystal display," and these displays are used in computer monitors, television screens, watches and calculators. That phrase also helps to explain the technology behind LCD screens.

Liquid Crystals
Liquid crystals are affected by temperature and electricity. When liquid crystal is used for LCDs, they react in a predictable way when exposed to a current. The molecules in the liquid crystal line up in a rigid pattern. In this condition, they transmit polarized light. A sheet of liquid crystal can be exposed to an electric current and, when sandwiched between other materials, can make a screen that displays light better than many other methods.

Making LCDs
To make an LCD, manufacturers use a special polarized glass, which features grooves in the surface. The glass is coated with liquid crystals, and the structures align to match the grooves. When the light strikes the glass film, the light is polarized. Polarization happens when light is aligned into one plane of direction. This polarizer film provides real control with the type and degree of light that is allowed to pass through.

LCD technology has a much longer history than many people think. The name was actually applied just over a century ago. In 1904, German physicist, Otto Lehmann, named his research "liquid crystals" and, in 1911, liquid crystals were put between thin plates by Charles Mauguin, a French mineralogist. In 1962, an RCA researcher put an electric current to liquid crystals and saw the rigid patterns, and, in 1964, RCA experimented with reducing the scattering effect of liquid crystals. The first liquid crystal panel was made in 1972, and then they hit the mass market in the form of watch displays.

LCD technology is being used in several ways. It is most commonly seen in digital televisions, as LCD televisions. It is also a key feature of LCD projectors, computer monitors and certain displays for instrumentation, such as airplanes and submarines. To a smaller degree, calculators, watches and game systems also use liquid crystal display technology.

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