According to an article published this month in Technology Review, a pixel that uses a pair of mirrors to block or transmit light could lead to displays that are faster, brighter and more energy efficient than LCDs. According to the Microsoft Research researchers, who published their research in the journal Nature Photonics, its design is also simpler and easier to manufacture, so it should also be cheaper.
LCDs represent half of the global television market and are the most popular technology in mobile phones and flat-panel computer monitors. However, they do not provide the best image quality, because: the pixels are not turned off completely; It takes an average of 25-40 milliseconds for pixels to change from black to white, slow enough to blur moving images; and it is virtually impossible to use them in bright light. "There is nothing that stands out about LCD technology," says Sriram Peruvemba, vice president of marketing for E Ink. "The only reason for its success is that it is currently the cheapest."
The new telescopic pixels turn off completely and do so in just 1.5 milliseconds. According to Microsoft Research's Michael Sinclair, this ultra-fast response time translates to simpler and cheaper color displays. In addition, they provide much more brightness: on an LCD screen, only 5% to 10% of the light that passes through the polarization films, the liquid crystal layer and the color filters goes to the outside, while the Telescopic pixels allow about 36% of the light to come out. This higher brightness capacity would also allow the screen to look better in bright environments.
The new pixels use two tiny micromirrors to transmit or block light. The first is an aluminum disk 100 micrometers wide and 100 nanometers thick with a hole in the center; the other, also a thin aluminum foil, is as large as the hole and is placed directly in front of it. Light is projected onto the disk-shaped mirror from behind the second mirror.
In the "off" state, both mirrors reflect light back towards the source, so that no light comes out of the hole. In the "on" state, a voltage applied between the disk and a transparent electrode tilts the disk toward the electrode. The light then bounces off the disk and goes to the second mirror, then exits through the hole.
Currently, Sinclair and his colleagues use indium titanium oxide, the industry standard for making transparent electrodes, but they have suggested that they could be made with an extremely thin aluminum layer that would be nearly transparent, thus simplifying the process of production of the screen and further reducing its cost.
Source: Technology Review