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Liquid Crystal Displays: Fundamental Physics and Technology

Liquid Crystal Displays: Fundamental Physics and Technology

Robert H. Chen

ISBN: 978-1-118-08435-9

Jun 2011

350 pages


An unprecedented look into the basic physics, chemistry, and technology behind the LCD

Most notably used for computer screens, televisions, and mobile phones, LCDs (liquid crystal displays) are a pervasive and increasingly indispensable part of our lives. Providing both an historical and a business-minded context, this extensive resource describes the unique scientific and engineering techniques used to create these beautiful, clever, and eminently useful devices.

In this book, the history of the science and technology behind the LCD is described in a prelude to the development of the device, presenting a rational development theme and pinpointing innovations. The book begins with Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism, and the ultimately profound realization that light is an electromagnetic wave and an electromagnetic wave is light.

The power of mathematical physics thus was brought to bear upon the study of light, and particularly the polarization of light by material bodies, including liquid crystals. After a brief historical description of polarization, a physical interpretation provides substance to the mathematical concepts. Subsequent chapters cover:

  • Thermodynamics for liquid crystals

  • The Maier-Saupe mean field, phenomenological, static continuum, and dynamic continuum theories

  • The transistor and integrated circuit

  • Glass, panels, and modules

  • The calculus of variations

  • The active matrix

  • Semiconductor fabrication

  • The global LCD business

Additionally, the book illustrates how mathematics, physics, and chemistry are put to practical use in the LCDs we use every day. By describing the science from an historical perspective and in practical terms in the context of a device very familiar to readers, the book presents an engaging and unique view of the technology for everyone from science students to engineers, product designers, and indeed anyone curious about LCDs.

Series Editor: Anthony C. Lowe, The Lambent Consultancy, Braishfield, UK

The Society for Information Display (SID) is an international society, which has the aim of encouraging the development of all aspects of the field of information display. Complementary to the aims of the society, the Wiley-SID series is intended to explain the latest developments in information display technology at a professional level. The broad scope of the series addresses all facets of information displays from technical aspects through systems and prototypes to standards and ergonomics.

Series Editor’s Foreword by Anthony C. Lowe.



About the Author.

1 Double Refraction.

2 Electromagnetism.

3 Light in Matter.

4 The Polarization of an Electromagnetic Wave.

5 Liquid Crystals.

6 Thermodynamics for Liquid Crystals.

7 The Calculus of Variations.

8 The Mean Field.

9 Maier–Saupe Theory.

10 Phenomenological Theory.

11 Static Continuum Theory.

12 Dynamic Continuum Theory.

13 The First Liquid Crystal Display.

14 Liquid Crystal Display Chemistry.

15 The Twisted Nematic.

16 Engineering the Liquid Crystal.

17 The Active Matrix.

18 New Screens.

19 The Transistor and Integrated Circuit.

20 A Transistor for the Active Matrix.

21 Semiconductor Fabrication.

22 Enhancing the Image.

23 The Wider View.

24 Liquid Crystal Television.

25 Glass, Panels, and Modules.

26 The Global LCD Business.

27 New Technologies and Products.


“This is an excellent introductory book for readers interested in an overview of the science, technology and business of Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) … The author’s casual writing style makes this book uniquely accessible to a variety of readers, ranging from students to business executives.” (Optics & Photonics News, 13 April 2012)

"As one would expect, the reference is written for a professional technical audience, but is clearly written and includes first-rate illustrations." (Book News, 1 October 2011)