The current liquid crystal display (LCD)
market is 95 % controlled by Japanese manufacturers, with a variety
of products, including dominant active matrix TFT devices which
are very fast and highly multiplexable. Other competitors include
Korea and the US, but as this project demonstrates, Europe still
holds an edge in certain areas.
Partners have developed a new type of
passive and highly multiplexable LCD using the surface bistability
of nematics on pre-treated glass surfaces. This black-and-white
device uses simple monostable planar and tilted anchorings and is
controlled by short electric impulses, requiring much less energy
than standard LCD screens. The cell has the usual sandwich geometry:
the nematic fills the space between two flat transparent plates
with an electric field perpendicular to the boundary plates.
The new Surface Bistable Nematic Display
or SBIND compares favourably with high-speed active matrix TFT devices,
but uses cheap passive matrix-like technology. We are talking about
low-consumption, long-life, high-performance LCD screens that do
not need batteries, say partners, a real alternative to the Japanese
systems which now dominate the market.