Display and Optoelectronics Overview

What is a Display?

A display is a device used to present output information in a visual manner of some sort. In some cases, such as electronic displays for blind people, the display actually features a tactile component. If the input into is in the form of an electronic signal, the device is an electronic display. Many different sorts of displays exist.

The segment display is one only capable of showing alphanumeric characters or digits. They have this name because each of those characters has a number of different segments turn on or off to complete the appearance of the character. Most of the time, the segments are made of liquid crystals or LEDs. Some of the most common places to find these segment displays would be in calculators, digital alarm clocks, and digital watches. Several subsets of digital display exist, including seven-segment displays, fourteen-segment displays, sixteen-segment displays, and the HD44780 LCD controller.

Two-dimensional displays are different. They are generally, but not always, larger. They also cover a full area, often a rectangle or square. Another term for this is the more familiar video display. These displays are the only means of presenting video, and you are likely quite familiar with them. Some of the common displays of this type include television sets, computer monitors, and medical monitors. Other displays include medical monitors and broadcast reference monitors.

Within the realm of this sort of display, many different technologies have been in play through the years. Until recently, CRT (cathode ray tube) was one of the most pervasive technologies in video displays. Some of the earliest displays were CRT, with the first made available commercially all the way back in 1922. They were also the technology behind the first televisions.

However, there is a wide range of other options available now. Some of those options include LEDs (light emitting diodes), ELD (electroluminescent display), LCD (liquid crystal display), OLED (organic light emitting diode), and PDP (plasma display panel). Three-dimensional displays are available as well.

Technologies in video displays advances at a spectacular rate, and new types of tech are currently on the horizon. Some of these include carbon nanotubes, quantum dot displays, and laser TV.

How Does a Display Function?

Different types of displays work slightly differently based on the types of technologies used in them. However, the basic process and workflow of the information is very similar across all of the various display types.

The displays need to provide instant, real time feedback based on the information it receives. One of the simplest ways to see this in action is to look at the monitor on your computer. When you move the mouse or strike the keys, you are sending information into the computer via electronic signals, which the computer then interprets. It sends that information directly to the display device. In this case, it would be a monitor, and you see those actions performed on the screen instantaneously.

The same thing happens with digital clock displays. When the time changes, or when you manually change the date or display on the device, you are inputting new information. The display will then change to reflect the new information.


What Are Optoelectronics?

The field of optoelectronics deals with changing electrical energy to light, as well as converting the light to electrical energy. It is possible to accomplish this with semiconductors. The semiconductor is a solid, crystalline material that is in between the conductivity of metals and insulators. Many things can affect the physical properties of those semiconductors, including exposure to varying types and amounts of light and electricity. It is important to note that there are forms of light not visible to the naked human eyes, such as infrared and ultraviolet, that can affect the semiconductors as well.

One of the prime examples of optoelectronics is the photoelectric effect. This was one of the early discoveries in physics that delved into the correlation between light and electricity. The effect shows that when some materials gain a sufficient amount of light, it is possible for the electrons to move from the surface of that material. The movement of electrons will then generate an electric current. This is similar to technologies used with solar energy today. The photovoltaic effect, used with many solar panels, also creates a movement of electrons, which can then generate an electrical current used to power homes and devices.

The generation of electricity via these effects can be used immediately, or stored for later usage.

Another one of the effects useful in optoelectronics is electroluminescence. This is common with various types of displays. When electricity is applied to some materials, the causes “electrons in high energy states to combine with electron holes and fall into more stable states of lower energy”. When this happens, it releases energy in the form of light. If you have an LED television, you can see this in action every time you turn on the television. Some of the other devices that utilize the electroluminescence effect include dashboard instrument panels, traffic lights, and certain signs.

A third way in which optoelectronics are in use today is through photoconductivity. This is the increase of conductivity of a material when exposed to light. Photocopiers make use of this sort of technology. The machine’s photoconductive surface, when combined with the image on one piece of paper and the exposure of light, causes the powder to form and fuse the image on another piece of paper. It does this by noting the different in the illuminated area and the image.

Many sorts of devices and applications are in use today that involves the use of optoelectronics effects. They are in nearly ever facet of modern life, including computers, communication technology, photography, medical equipment, imaging, and much more.


What Are the Effects of Quantum Mechanics?

Quantum mechanics and optoelectronics have a close relation. In fact, the quantum mechanical effects of the way light works on electronic materials, particular semiconductors, is the basis for optoelectronics.


What Are the Various Types of Displays and Optoelectronics?

The following is a list of many of the different types of displays available today, as well as various sorts of optoelectronics devices in use.

·         Displays and Industrial Monitorsdisplays can encompass many different types and styles, including LED displays, video displays such as televisions and computer monitors, and the old CRT style monitors. Industrial monitors can include those types of devices as well. However, because of the industrial setting, they generally have to be more durable to stand up to the usage and the work environment. For example, some of the monitors may have LCD panels, and even touch screens for certain functions. They may also have outdoor displays and panel monitors that can stand up to many different types of environmental factors


·         Fiber Optic Componentsfiber optic components changed the communications network, and without them, the world would not be the same as it is today. The small conduits can carry all different types of signals, and they can carry those signals far faster than other types of wires can. Since they are made of glass, there is no resistance or disruption to the signals. Many different fields have moved on from copper and other wires to incorporate fiber optics. Some of the most notable of these industries include communications, Internet and phone connections, cable television, and networking. The field is actually growing and more and more industries are starting to utilize fiber optics.


·         Emitters and Receivers – the emitters are a source of light energy that is a part of the IR, or infrared, spectrum. They are LEDs that transmit signals from a remote control, for example. The receivers on the other hand are the devices that literally receive the signal and perform the action. Using transmitter, such as a remote for changing channels or turning up the volume on a television is a good example of this. This is just one sample of an IR emitter though. They are in many different types of products and industries today, including the automotive industry.


·         Laser Modules and Components – these modules and components are useful for many applications that require something small that also has low power consumption. Laser modules and components are most helpful in the area of scientific instrumentation, although they can help with machine vision and laser line generation. These lasers are readily available in a host of beam shapes, output powers, and wavelengths.


·         LED Indicators and Accessories – the LED indicators will let you know when there is an issue with an electrical or mechanical system. They will generally flash a warning light or have a steady warning light. A good example of this would be the dashboard indicator lights in motor vehicles. They will generally have some type of image on or near the light as well to provide information on what system is in trouble.


·         LED Lighting System Components – a number of different components make up the LED lighting systems, including the bulbs, which can take a number of shapes, styles, and sizes. LED modules can help to backlight signs and displays, as well as for many other types of lighting. Other components for LED displays include light bars, strip lights, and wall washers. A system will also need to have some type of power supply. Lighting controls, such as dimmers, can be a part of many types of LED lighting systems as well.


·         LEDs and LED Accessories – LEDs are light emitting diodes, and they are highly important for many types of displays today. The semiconductor light source is an integral part of many sorts of devices today, including lamps, signs, smart lighting, and light sources for many types of machine vision systems. LEDs and accessories have been in automotive lighting, aviation lighting, traffic signals, and much more over the years. They have a number of benefits over traditional types of lighting, namely the fact that they do not consume as much energy and they tend to last longer.


·         Optocouplers – an optocoupler goes by a number of different names, including the photocoupler, opto isolator, and optical isolator. This is a passive optical component that can combine or split transmission data in optical fibers. They are capable of transferring the signals through light waves. The goal is to prevent high voltages from one portion of the circuit damaging the other side of the circuit. They will have their own light source that converts the incoming signal to light. The devices are common in the audio industry and the music industry. One can find them in communications equipment, photocopiers, light measurement instruments, and in some forms of industrial automation as well.


·         Photodetectors – these devices can sense electromagnetic energy, generally in the form of light. They can detect light because the photons in light are a sort of electromagnetic energy. Photodetectors can be mechanical, biological, as in the case of plants, and chemical. One of the most common uses of this type of technology in today’s world is with laser security systems. The photodetectors are able to sense the presence of the light from the lasers. When something breaks the beam, such as an intruder, this would signal the system to trigger an alarm. Film is a good example of a chemical photodetector. It utilizes light to imprint images on the surface of the film, and the photographers must then develop the film in a darkroom so the film does not have a chemical reaction to the presence of light, which would potentially destroy the film.

·         Photo Interrupters – these are a part of an optoelectronic system. The device features an optical emitter and a detector and amplifier, and they serve to block all or a portion of a light source. Photo interrupters can allow one to turn a circuit on and off optically. Any object that is in the gap will interrupt the infrared beam, and this can turn on and off the circuit. One of the benefits of these devices is the speed with which they can work.