LCD assembly
The new technology could make current displays three times sharperGetty Images

Scientists have invented a new type of liquid crystal that will enable television and computer manufacturers to produce displays that pack three times the pixels into the same area of screen. Triple the sharpness can be achieved through this liquid while reducing the power required.

This new type of crystal created by a team of scientists at the University of Central Florida's College of Optics and Photonics (CREOL) is called blue-phase liquid crystal.

Giving a sense of how progressive this technology is, physicist Shin-Tson Wu from the research team says, "Today's Apple Retina displays have a resolution density of about 500 pixels per inch. But with the new technology, a resolution density of 1500 pixels per inch could be achieved on the same sized screen. This is especially attractive for virtual reality headsets or augmented reality technology, which must achieve high resolution in a small screen to look sharp when placed close to our eyes."

How it is better

The new technology will build on the existing LCD display construct by doing away with colour filters altogether because of how quickly it can control the colour changes. Typically, LCD screens contain a thin layer of nematic liquid crystal through which the incoming white LED backlight is modulated. The new blue-phase liquid crystal will look to replace the nematic liquid crystal and can control the incoming light almost 10 times faster.

"With color filters, the red, green and blue light are all generated at the same time," says Wu. "However, with blue-phase liquid crystal we can use one subpixel to make all three colors, but at different times. This converts space into time, a space-saving configuration of two-thirds, which triples the resolution density."

Although there is no prototype of any display using this liquid the creators are hoping to build one by 2018.