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How Computer Monitors Work

LCD Monitors

Liquid crystal display technology works by blocking light. Specifically, an LCD is made of two pieces of polarized glass (also called substrate) that contain a liquid crystal material between them. A backlight creates light that passes through the first substrate. At the same time, electrical currents cause the liquid crystal molecules to align to allow varying levels of light to pass through to the second substrate and create the colors and images that you see.

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Active and Passive Matrix Displays

Most LCD displays use active matrix technology. A thin film transistor (TFT) arranges tiny transistors and capacitors in a matrix on the glass of the display. To address a particular pixel, the proper row is switched on, and then a charge is sent down the correct column. Since all of the other rows that the column intersects are turned off, only the capacitor at the designated pixel receives a charge. The capacitor is able to hold the charge until the next refresh cycle.

The other type of LCD technology is passive matrix. This type of LCD display uses a grid of conductive metal to charge each pixel. Although they are less expensive to produce, passive matrix monitors are rarely used today due to the technology's slow response time and imprecise voltage control compared to active matrix technology.

Now that you have an understanding of how LCD technology works, let's look at some specific features unique to LCD monitors.

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