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Debunking an Urban Legend: Uniformity in Edge-Lit Frustrated TIR Displays

M.G. Selbrede
Uni-Pixel Displays, Inc., US

Keywords:
MEMS, MOEMS, TIR, wave guide, pixel, field sequential color, uniformity

Abstract:
Field sequential color display systems that utilize frustrated total internal reflection to activate pixels offer tremendous advantages over existing display technologies. Among these advantages are display transparency, imaging of infrared and visible light on the same display surface, efficiencies of 25 lumens/watt and higher, with thin film transistors eliminated entirely, etc. Notwithstanding these benefits, development of such MEMS-based displays has been stymied by a surprisingly resilient urban legend: the claim that light in a TIR waveguide weakens as distance from the light sources increases, creating a brightness gradient in such displays. It is further assumed that even if the light were uniformly distributed in the slab, activation of pixels entails “less light downstream” for pixels farther from the source, again creating an unacceptable brightness gradient in such systems. A bias based on faulty intuition dies hard.
 
This presentation compellingly establishes the preconditions for display uniformity, removing the one persistent obstacle impeding the development of MEMS-based displays that exploit frustrated TIR. Such displays are shown to exhibit excellent uniformity, initial prejudices notwithstanding.

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