What Is A Ferro-Electric Liquid Display


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The following is a guest post by Sabri Suby

The only constant is change and never have we felt that more than in the past couple of decades. The rate of technological advances has been astonishing. No sooner have you bought a new digital camera, plasma TV, mobile phone or computer than it’s out of date and distinctly under-spec’d compared to the latest release item.

When LCD screens hit the market and we could replace those ugly, bulky, hungry cathode ray tube screens with sleek, neat and cool liquid crystal displays, we could not consider ever being unhappy with our lot again.

Then along comes a new technology. Ferro-electric Liquid Display (FLD) or Ferro Fluid Display (FFD) screens are a type of screen that uses liquids instead of crystals. These fluids have a very fast switching time (faster than an LCD), a very low dot pitch which results in a high resolution (better than LCD), can be produced in extremely thin layers and power is only used to change the state of the liquid so if the picture is not changing, no power is used.

Better picture, thinner interface and cheaper to run. Is the LCD dead? Not yet of course as the production costs of the FLD’s are still way too high but like everything, the cost will come down as the volume of sales increase.

Not only will desktop, laptop and notebook computers benefit from this type of screen technology,
there has been talk of applying the displays to the surface of an appliance as a ‘colour layer’. As an example, if your mobile phone is covered by a layer of FLD you will be able to change the colour of the phone to anything you want at any time. Same with any appliance that uses FLD.
Your whole house could be customized to the colour you want on a particular day.

But don’t throw your LCD out just yet. While FLDs and FFDs look very promising there are a range of other technology’s being worked on, each having a different value proposition. Organic light-emitting diodes (OLED), surface-conduction electron-emitter displays (SED), field emission displays (FED), interferometric modulator displays (IMOD), telescopic pixel display (TPD)… the list goes on.

Eventually we’ll no doubt be working with holograms that appear before us and the need to type things onto a screen will be reduced. As long as there’s a movie to watch, a spreadsheet to construct and Facebook to update, the good old fashioned computer screen will have its place. It might not be an LCD but if it’s thinner, better to look at and cheaper to run (ala FLDs), then bring it on.