Fiber optic is a popular backlighting solution for liquid-crystal displays (LCDs). It’s used in tablet computers, human machine interfaces (HMIs) and other LCDs. Unless you’re familiar with it, though, you might be wondering how fiber optic backlighting works in LCDs.

What Is Fiber Optic Backlighting?

Also known as optical fiber backlighting, fiber optic backlighting is a light-propagating hardware component that’s used to assist in the illumination of a display device’s pixels. All display devices have pixels — and LCDs are no exception. To produce visible images, the pixels must be illuminated. Some LCDs are designed with strands of silica to help illuminate their pixels.

The Mechanics of Fiber Optic Backlighting in LCDs

Fiber optic backlighting doesn’t necessarily produce illumination. Rather, it distributes illumination. As previously mentioned, fiber optic backlighting consists of strands of silica. Silica is glass. Glass, of course, is transparent. With its transparency, light can travel through fiber optic backlighting so that it’s distributed more evenly throughout the LCD’s pixels.

Most LCDs with fiber optic backlighting have light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The LEDs are embedded behind the layer of liquid pixels. When you turn on the LCD, the LEDs will illuminate the pixels form behind. If fiber optic backlighting is used, the LEDs will produce light that travels through the strands of silica before reaching the layer of liquid pixels.

Not all LCDs have fiber optic backlighting. Many of them simply use LEDs. Fiber optic backlighting works together with LEDs to illuminate an LCD’s pixels. What are the benefits of fiber optic backlighting in LCDs exactly?

Benefits of Fiber Optic Backlighting in LCDs

LCDs with fiber optic backlighting are less susceptible to bright and dark spots than those with only LEDs. It will ensure that light is distributed evenly throughout the LCD’s pixels. As a result, you shouldn’t notice any bright or dark spots. The LCD will project even lighting while offering higher-quality images.

Because it’s used in conjunction with LEDs, fiber optic backlighting lasts for a very long time. There are other lighting solutions available besides LEDs. LED, however, is more energy efficient than longer-lasting than nearly all other lighting solutions. Most LEDs last for over 100,000 hours, which is far more than other lighting solutions.

To recap, fiber optic backlighting refers to the use of silica strands to propagate light produced by LEDs. The silica strands don’t produce their own light. Rather, they transmit light produced by the LEDs.