The journey is the reward - TMOS as a new alternative to OLED, LCD and plasma?
By Hannes Grundschober
When Samsung enters into a joint venture with a manufacturer of innovative technology, you can be excited that something new is to come. Since February, the company Unipixel and Samsung have been wor4king together on a technology known as TMOS– Time Multiplexed Optical Shutter.
It sounds complicated, but seemingly, it is not when it comes to manufacture. And this is precisely what the interesting thing is about the new technology. With this technology, it is seemingly possible to achieve better image quality for a better price using simplified production processes (unlike OLED, LCD or plasma). And this can be applied for both large screens and screens for mobile phones and other mobile devices
In addition, Unipixel seems to have brought problems with touch screens under control: if you have touched an LCD touch screen in the past, you will be familiar with the bright patches which arise on the screen as a result or the many fingerprints which leave unpleasant spots behind on the screen. With a product range known as Opcuity Films, this should all be a thing of the past. Opcuity Films are also at the heart of TMOS technology.
But now to TMOS - what is this and how does it actually work? It would be best to begin with the technology that is used today: in order to create a colour pixel which can be seen by our eyes, tiny pixels in red, green and blue are arranged beside each other and illuminated. The small spaces between the pixels allow our eyes –or rather our brains- to mix together a colour. Many of these spatially arranged R-G-B pixel stacks then provide a colourful picture when mixed together ("spatial colour mixing").
What does TMOS do differently? With TMOS, we do not see 3 coloured pixels, but rather there is a type of light chamber per pixel which is "filled" with red, green and blue flashes of light for varying periods of time. The shorter a light impulse per colour, the lower the share of that colour in the overall colour. Together with the Opcuity Film, which switches the pixel light on and off briefly, the colour and brightness can be managed as the user wishes ("temporal colour mixing").
Together with micro-mirrors and micro-lenses, the entire concept should provide image quality that has been unattainable until now, with more contrast and reproducible colours, according to Unipixel. The display can be read with ease even in direct sunlight. Viewing angles of 170 degrees can be achieved and through a thin, filmy construction, flexible displays in enormous formats should no longer be a problem. The light source ("light bar") comes from just one side – the colours are fed into the light chambers through a type of light tunnel ("light guide") and mirror system. The fact that the energy consumption is just 1/10 of that of LCDs is welcome news to investors, manufacturers and consumers alike in times such as these.
This is how the colour display works:
The most important layers in the TMOS technology:
When varying voltages are applied, the Opcuity Film moves down and the light from the "light chamber" becomes visible ("Shutter").
If the great promises are even partially kept, we are on the threshold of a revolution in screen technology:
· Same, simple production processes for mobile phone screens and large format screens.
Industry giants such as Samsung and Philips are working on making the first products suitable for mass production.