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VATN Display Technology

Posted by Julia Nielsen on

The Newest LCD Technology to Hit the Market - VATN Display

In the last decade, LCD technology has created a boon in not only the television and entertainment industry, but in other industries, such as aviation, mobile devices, appliances and computers. Although. a new kid on the block, VATN is gaining ground. Vertical Aligned Twisted Nematic or VATN is a fairly new concept in LCD technology and has only been around for about four years; however, it’s quickly gaining in popularity and here’s why.

VATN vs Traditional Technology 

16x2-blue-vatn

Before we get into the advantages of using VATN technology, let’s first explore what it actually is. Vertical Aligned Twisted Nematic is where the liquid crystals align vertically when the voltage is zero, creating a truly black display. The crystals change alignment and rotate to ensure light passes through when voltage is applied. The greater the angle of the tilt, the more it allows light to pass through, affording you a brighter display.

VATN is much different than the traditional TN, (Twisted Nematic) STN, (Super Twisted Nematic) and FSTN, (Film Compensated Super Twisted Nematic) technologies, which features the characteristic black-on-gray or black-on-silver display; but with VATN, the display is pure black, so when light passes through, it is much brighter. 

In the past, TN afforded 5% to 10% of light to escape, which reduced the contrast/sharpness of the characters. And while the VATN oval-shaped molecules are 100% vertical, the TN are in-between vertical and horizontal, but never completely vertical. This is important to note, because VATN displays stay sharper over a wider viewing area, due to the full 140˚ angle it displays on all sides, making it an excellent choice for LCD displays. 

The reason why VATN displays a brighter viewing screen has to do with the technology that allows a wider viewing display 140-degree viewing angle in all directions, which allows users to view the display without needing to move the screen for better viewing; this has a much greater advantage over the TN, STN or FSTN displays that garnered a decreased contrast, darker display and an increased difficulty with viewing. Because VATN technology utilizes this approach, it is widely popular in the industrial and entertainment field. 

Advantages of Vertical Aligned Twisted Nematic Technology 

vatn-display

The trend of this new technology is only increasing and will soon be the buzz, of which OEM’s, Original Equipment Manufacturers of industrial LCD displays, should take note. The advantages are pretty clear when you study the new technology, which has been dubbed, far superior than traditional LCD displays. Not only does VATN technology offer the brightness of an LED, but its lifetime is 20x longer than the EL, (Electro Luminescent) and the blue color found in OLED’s. (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) This alone, makes it to the top of the list for industrial displays. 

Other advantages of VATN technology includes:

  • A viewing angle of 140˚ all around as opposed to the lower 40-50˚ with traditional displays – having this greater degree for viewing is paramount for industrial displays, so the LCD is easier to read.
  • It operates in temperatures as cold as 30˚ C and as hot as 80˚ C.
  • Removes hot & cold spots in industrial display applications – in the past, industrial displays utilized negative mode LCD displays, meaning the letters or characters are light-colored and the background was darker. This feature was great for users to read the LCD quickly, but had one big disadvantage: it created hot spots where the backlight creates a stark pool of light, or conversely, a cold spot did the opposite and created dull spots that made the display and reading of the LCD more difficult. These spots can make the display seem like they’re poor quality, which in reality, is untrue.
  • VATN modules can be customized, meaning, the display is designed to fit with the customer’s needs or wants. The designer can built exactly the module without the high tooling cost or the high Minimum Order Quantities. (MOQ) For example, some book publishers utilize the POD (Print on Demand) model, so they can print a book as requested, instead of doing high print runs and running the risk of having overstock of books.
  • Available back light in white/green/yellow-green/red/blue
  • Less expensive than In-Plane Switching
  • Operating temperature range of 0C-60C
  • True black background instead of TN’s blue background

Applications which use VATN 

There are a variety of applications now using Vertical Alignment Twisted Nematic technology, such as the medical, industrial, home appliance, and entertainment industry. For instance, an all-digital expresso machine is a perfect product for VATN technology, especially for early-morning use, such as when it’s dark out in the wintertime. The pure black background allows for better viewing at all angles. In automobiles, having a black background in instrument clusters is much easier on driver’s eyes, particularly at night; and for those applications where it needs to be readable in sunlight, VATN is an excellent choice for better viewing without needing to squint or cover the sides to see the device, such as with mobile phones. 

Other applications, for which VATN technology is not only useful but preferable is in the medical industry. Ensuring strong light for medical equipment is essential in the field, particularly in OR’s and in patient’s rooms, to allow easier nighttime or low-voltage reading of equipment. 

The Marine industry also benefits from using this technology, allowing for easier viewing of instruments and equipment aboard boats and ships, where nighttime sailing or cruising is oftentimes the rule and not the exception.

How VATN Displays Are More Durable Than Traditional LCDs.

An LCD module often operates in a rugged or dark environment, which requires that the unit be more durable to extreme weather conditions or nighttime usage. The display needs to be not only readable, but clear and bright at a wide viewing angle. Let’s take a look at the design behind the viewing angle for a better understanding of this technology. First, when you are looking straight on something, at eye-level, it’s much easier to view and read the LCDs; it’s when you turn it left or right that used to be the problem. LCD displays lost their optimal viewing, making it difficult to read the display clearly. Now, that’s all in the past as VATN displays afford a much better angle viewing. 

vatn-custom-silk-screen

Secondly, LCD viewing angles are always measured in degrees from the center. If you are at eye level and you lower the display a few inches, you have increased the viewing angle, but you may have decreased the readability. If you try to go beyond the degree with which that particular display can produce successfully, the quality is lost. It seems like a catch-22. For instance, think about the use of a digital wrist watch or even an older cell phone. If you place the devices at eye level, you can see clearly, without much of a problem. Tilt them up a little and you start to lose the display; raise it up higher but keep it at the same angle, and the display fades and the information will become unreadable altogether. 

It’s no wonder that with older technology the displays could only be viewed from an angle off 40 to 50 degrees above/below/left or right of the display. Of course, the display became unreadable, leading to frustration and awkward viewing. VATN displays allow the user of the industrial LCD displays to read the display up to 70 degrees in any direction, so with left to right, it’s a full 140˚ viewing. This technology means less movement of the device or of the user’s eyes/head. Being able to see not only better but brighter and with more contrast is appealing to users and those workers in the industrial field. 

So, as the trend continues with new technology in LCD displays, I am sure more products will be designed and manufactured, allowing for the old, traditional models to be retired so new models can be introduced to the market. In this day and age of continually tweaking and creating new technology, it’s a wonder to keep up with the constant chameleon of change; it’s also exciting that the status quo doesn’t stay that way for long. With each new technology paving the way for more change, we can count on new and evolved LCDs that break the barriers of impossibility and forge a new trend onward.