Energy Efficient LCD

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Energy Efficient Robust Liquid Crystal Display


The advertising display industry is worth around $16Bn a year worldwide and the electronic active billboard industry is set to grow at 30% per annum over the next few years.

Today, compan­­ies engaged in the traditional billboard advertising sector have large expenditures in printing, transportation and poster replacement costs. The electronic alternatives use plasma, light emitting diode or liquid crystal displays to produce active display billboards.  However, such alternatives are also costly due to the manufacturing expense and the cost of the power consumed to maintain and change the image. Such active displays also need protection from potential vandalism, particularly if placed at street level.


Researchers at the University of Strathclyde have developed a new reflective bistable liquid crystal display. This bistable technology does not require power to maintain an image but only to change an image. This means that, for advertisements that remain static for many minutes, there is a huge saving in power consumption. In addition, because the display is reflective, there is no need for the large backlight that consumes much of the power of a traditional electronic display and makes it easier to read in direct sunlight.

The display could be powered by solar energy and so could operate independently of a connected electrical power source. The standard, and scalable, manufacturing processes incorporate flexible robust plastic components making it ideal for advertising at a bus stop.

This bistable liquid crystal technology has been proven to work and a credit card sized demonstrator is currently under development.

Key Benefits

  • Cost savings and ease of use compared with the traditional process of printing, transporting and installing new posters
  • Savings in power consumption as:   i) the display only requires power to change the image, not to maintain it; ii) no backlight is required
  • Low cost manufacture since standard liquid crystal materials and simple manufacturing methods are used
  • Passively addressed electronics further reduces manufacturing costs
  • Reduced risk of vandalism due to robust flexible plastics and therefore suitable for street level advertising
  • Flexible materials enable it to be shaped around curved surfaces

Markets and Applications

  • Large screen advertising displays
  • Mobile phones, laptop PCs, ATMs
  • Electronic paper
  • Smart cards and disposable displays

Licensing and Development

The technology is protected by patent applications filed by the University of Strathclyde as WO 2006/059128A1 and WO 2007/141525A1.  Contact is welcomed from organisations interested in developing, licensing or exploiting this technology. Please contact quoting reference number 1653.

This project has received assistance from the Proof of Concept Programme managed by Scottish Enterprise.  The Proof of Concept Programme supports the pre-commercialisation of leading-edge technologies emerging from Scotland's universities, research institutes and NHS Trusts.