Liquid Crystal Display

What Does Liquid Crystal Display Mean?

A liquid crystal display (LCD) is a type of display technology that makes use of liquid crystals that open or close when stimulated by an electric current. These liquid crystals are the basis for LCD technology.


LCD is considered a major innovation in display devices and is frequently used in mainstrean electronics like microwave ovens, laptop computers, smartphones and televisions. LCD technology is preferred to other display technologies because it is lighter, thinner and uses less power.

Techopedia Explains Liquid Crystal Display

Liquid crystal technology essentially began in 1888, when Friedrich Reinitzer discovered the crystalline nature of the cholesterol extracted from carrots. By 1972, the first active-matrix liquid crystal display panel was produced by Westinghouse in Pittsburgh, and by 2008, LCD televisions were globally distributed and continue to actively replace cathode ray tube models.

The liquid crystals are made of complex molecules. Just like water, they change their state from solid to liquid, depending on the temperature to which they are exposed. When in a liquid state, the molecules move around but are likely to form a line in a certain direction, allowing them to reflect light. Crystals are arranged in a matrix with groups of three crystals of the colors red, green and blue, forming a segment known as a pixel. Groups of pixels can form numbers, letters or shapes and are arranged in columns or rows. Polarized light is allowed or blocked, as liquid crystals are turned on and off individually.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.