What’s behind your screen?


One of the most popular displays today is an LCD display. They come in televisions, computer monitors, phones, and more, but do you know that chemistry and physics are the fundamental to create these screens?

LCD stands for Liquid Crystal display and were used to replace Cathode Ray Tube displays because the CRTs were too bulky making televisions and computer monitors huge. Inside of an  LCD display there are multiple layers: a thin filmed transistor, an electrode pattern, a liquid crystal and some level of polarization.

The thin filmed transistor is a very specific form of glass known as Borosilicate glass, made up of around 13% boron trioxide and around 80% silicon dioxide. Its physical properties due to its compound make up allows the glass to be more shock resistant and heat resistant than your average piece of glass. The electrode pattern uses metals like copper and titanium to transfer electrons. The polarizer mainly works with filtering light. Previously, light was just projected onto the television. Now a polarizer filters light waves by direction reducing the amount of power required to use a lit up display. It also allows for smooth picture transition. Finally the liquid crystal is used to produce the crisp look of an LCD screen. This crystal starts out as a liquid and when it comes into contact with the average atmospherics on the surface of the earth, this liquid crystallizes, like a spiders silk. It has the unique ability based on its shape and structure to show or not show various light rays. The polarizer prepares the light for this liquid crystal making its job possible.

So there you have it, now you know whats behind that magic box in your living room!