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Glossary of LCD Terminology

Common industry LCD terminology for engineers

In an effort to assist in the design of LCD displays, we are providing a glossary of commonly used LCD Terminology.

  • Backlight – Displays need a backlight or light source to be readable in the dark, the majority of backlights are LED (Light Emitting Diodes)
  • Capacitive touch panel – Allows multi-touch operation as seen on a cell phones or tablets, and allow more light to pass through, providing a brighter display. It is more expensive than resistive touch panels and only recognizes a touch from skin or a special pen.
  • Color – The module can display multiple colors
  • Diagonal measurement – Graphic displays are measured by the number of inches when measuring diagonally from the bottom left to the top right of the glass.
  • FSTN fluid type– Film Super Twisted Nematic fluid is more expensive than STN and offers a sharper contrast than TN and STN.
  • Half-life – The amount of time in hours before the display or backlight is ½ as bright as when it was first turned on.
  • Monochrome– The display has one color character and a different color background.
  • Nits – The is a measure of brightness of the display, one Nit = the light supplied by one candle
  • Operating temperature – The temperature range the display needs to operate in.
  • Positive/negative mode –Resistive touch panel– RTPs are the most common and lowest cost touch panel technology. They are activated by contact from any object, regardless of the material used. They are lower cost and will operate in a wide range of temperatures and environmental conditions.
    • POSITIVE: Dark letters/characters on a light background.
    • NEGATIVE: Light letters/characters on a dark background.
  • Resolution – Graphic displays contain a number of dots, the more dots the higher the resolution. An example of this is a 320×240. The first number (320) is the number of dots along the horizon, the second number (240) is the number of dots in the vertical.
  • STN fluid type – Super Twisted Nematic fluid is more expensive than TN and offers a wider viewing angle than TN.
  • Sunlight readable – Is the display readable in bright light or is it washed out?
  • TN fluid type – Twisted Nematic fluid is the lowest cost and has the narrowest viewing angle.
  • Touch panel – (resistive/capacitive)