The “crystal” in “liquid crystal display” may get a revision if a new display technology makes it to market. Research done by Professor Piotr Kaszynski and grad student Bryan Ringstrand at Vanderbilt University has produced an improved crystal material that could improve one of the key attributes of LCDs.
The new crystals have a zwitterionic structure, meaning they are composed of charged groups of atoms but have no net charge. The researchers have taken advantage of this class of molecule to make crystals with a higher electric dipole, a property that allows them to be switched between a light and dark state more quickly than existing crystals.
This quick on-off means that the time it takes for the display to flip over the millions of dots it takes to make an image is reduced significantly. This translates to both a higher refresh rate (not really necessary) and a lower display latency (which is always nice, but is as low as 2ms these days already).
They still have to be tested for durability and other characteristics necessary to commercial deployment, so don’t expect to see these any time soon. And even when they do come out, you likely won’t hear about it. But when you’re thinking of buying that 1000Hz TV in a year or two, you might give Vanderbilt an inner high-five.
Combined with those new 10-micron nanogrills, these could make some insane screens. Wow, what a nerdy article I’ve just written.
TL;DR: new base LCD tech may make your displays better kinda soon.