Reflections can make it difficult to view display devices like liquid-crystal displays (LCDs). If the light from an external source reflects off the surface of an LCD, it may drown out the LCD’s own images. Rather than seeing the LCD’s images on screen, you’ll see the reflected light. The good news is that many LCDs today are now designed with an anti-reflective coating to prevent this from happening. What is an anti-reflective coating exactly, and how do they work in LCDs?

What Is an Anti-Reflective Coating?

An anti-reflective coating is exactly what it sounds like: It’s a coating that’s applied over the surface of an LCD to protect against reflections. Most LCDs, of course, have a glass top layer. The glass top layer covers the screen while projecting the LCD’s visible images. An anti-reflective coating is a transparent layer that’s applied over this glass top layer. Once applied, it will protect the LCD from reflections. The LCD will still be able to produce visible images, but any incoming light from an external source will be absorbed so that it doesn’t result in reflections.

How Anti-Reflective Coatings Work

Unless you’re familiar with them, you might be wondering how anti-reflective coatings work. There are different types of anti-reflective coatings, each of which consists of a different substance or combination of substances. Regardless, most anti-reflective coatings work by cancelling out specific wavelengths of light.

When an anti-reflective coating is exposed to an external light source, it will absorb light in a certain wavelength while simultaneously reflecting light in a different wavelength. In doing so, it will cancel out the two wavelengths so that the light isn’t visible.

Anti-reflective coatings are still transparent. Transparency is necessary to ensure the LCD is able to produce visible images. Anti-reflective coatings are simply designed to protect against reflections by canceling out different wavelengths of light.

Other Types to Minimize Reflections

In addition to choosing an LCD with an anti-reflective coating, there are other ways to minimize reflections. One of the easiest solutions, for instance, is to choose the right placement for your LCD. If it’s placed in area that’s directly exposed to light — either from a nearby window or a light fixture — it may experience reflections.

There are often settings that you can adjust to minimize reflections as well. If you notice a reflection on your LCD, check the settings to see if you can reduce it. Lowering the brightness or adjusting the contrast may help.