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Definition: LCD

(Liquid Crystal Display) A screen display technology developed in 1963 at the David Sarnoff Research Center in Princeton, NJ. All computer and most TV screens are LCDs (see LED TV), while mobile device screens may be LCD or organic LED (see OLED). By the 1990s, color LCDs helped laptop sales boom, and LCD computer monitors outsold CRTs for the first time in 2003. See liquid crystal, LCD types and LCD categories.

A Color Pixel
Sandwiched between polarizing filters and glass panels, rod-shaped molecules of liquid crystals flow like liquid and bend light like crystal. The liquid crystal layer is 5 to 25 micrometers thick (2 to 10/10,000" inch). For more details on color LCDs, see LCD subpixels.

Seven-Segment LCD Watch
Because it took so little power to move crystal molecules, LCD wristwatches and other monochrome screens began to flourish in the late 1970s. For more details on this type of display, see seven-segment display. (Image courtesy of the private collection of Peter Wenzig.)

LCDs and LEDs are widely used in combination as in this printer panel. Readouts are LCDs, but the indicator lights on billions of products are LEDs. LCD TVs use LED backlights (see LED and LED TV). See LCD vs. OLED and LCD vs. plasma.