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Optoelectronics/Displays  

Integrated optical film manages LCD backlight

Posted: 18 May 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:lcd  backlight  optical film  cmof 

3M's Optical Systems Division extends light management for LCD backlights with integrated optical films, known as 'Collimating Multi-layer Optical Film' (CMOF) that can eliminate all free-floating films, as well as the light guide from LED LCD backlights.

CMOF is based on 3M's multi-layer optical film technology platform that is used to make current display films such as DBEF reflective polarisers and ESR reflector films. By leveraging CMOF, 3M has demonstrated how to reduce the amount of light management material in an LED LCD backlight by an order of magnitude—significantly improving the overall environmental profile, while enabling non-incremental improvements in cost, as well as the simplicity of products, display systems and supply chain. The company's 'integrated optics' solution also enables a light management approach consisting of 'light mixing' to address fundamental problems to LED displays. As a result of this technology, 3M has developed a new backlight architecture called Air Guide.

3M's ability to integrate the light management directly on the panel in the manufacturing process enables a one-step assembly process—making the supply chain even more efficient. Device manufacturers, who use LCD panels with 3M optics integrated, can simply place it on the appropriate chassis, made with an integrated ESR reflector. In addition, by leveraging Air Guide, LCD manufacturers will have display systems that are more tolerant to LED binning variations of brightness and colour associated with LED manufacturing. This is important since costs associated with binning can account for up to 30 per cent of overall LED manufacturing costs. Monitor, TV, and LCD signage are all potential markets for Air Guide.

Carbon footprint is of increasing importance in assessing environmental impact of products. Carbon footprint includes not only energy efficiency of device power draw, but also the impact of the entire supply chain in making, shipping and packaging required for a device's manufacture. 3M works with its customers to find ways to continually improve in this area, and integrated optics for LCD is an important part of that effort.

Lastly, the industry is increasingly moving towards adopting an open cell business model where panel makers will make openly available LCD panels for purchase. 3M's ability to integrate the light management directly on the panel in its manufacture is well suited to this, and results in an even more efficient supply chain. Device manufacturers would just need to purchase a panel, with 3M optics integrated, and place it on the appropriate chassis.





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