Liquid-crystal displays (LCDs) are found in countless electronics, including consumer and commercial electronics. They receive their namesake from their use of liquid organic pixels. The liquid pixels in LCDs aren’t capable of illuminating themselves, however. Instead, they require the use of backlighting, such as light-emitting diode (LED) or cold-cathode fluorescent (CCFL).
What Is LED Backlighting?
LED backlighting is a method of illumination in LCDs that’s characterized by the use of LED bulbs. LED bulbs don’t contain gas. Rather, they work by passing electricity through a semiconductor. The semiconductor heats up, resulting in the production of light that illuminates the LCD’s liquid pixels.
Some of the benefits of LED backlighting in LCDs includes the following:
- Energy efficient, requires less energy than CCFL and other types of backlighting
- When used in touchscreens, supports fast response times
- Lasts longer than other types of backlighting
- Produces little to no heat during operation
- With its energy-efficient benefits, LED-backlit LCDs costs less to operate than other types of backlighting
What Is CCFL Backlighting?
CCFL backlighting, on the other hand, is an LCD illumination method that involves the use of CCFL bulbs. CCFL bulbs are defined by their use of electron discharge and fluorescence. They develop ultraviolet (UV) light using mercury vapor, which allows for the illumination of the LCD’s liquid pixels.
Some of the benefits of CCFL backlighting in LCDs includes the following:
- Even distribution of light, thereby preventing bright or dark spots
- Time-tested and reliable backlighting method that’s been used for decades
- Also capable of evenly distributing light
Other Backlighting Solutions for LCDs
While LCD and CCFL are often found in LCDs, they aren’t the only backlighting solutions for these display devices. LCDs are available with other forms of backlighting. Electroluminescent (EL), for instance, is a backlighting solution that involves the use of phosphor layers. Phosphor compounds produce light when exposed to a voltage. EL-backlit LCD leverage this phenomenon to illuminate their liquid pixels.
Regarding LED backlighting, there are several ways in which the LED bulbs can be configured. Edge-lit LCDs, for example, feature an arrangement of LED bulbs around the perimeter of the display. From the perimeter, the LED bulbs illuminate the liquid pixels. Other LED-backlit LCDs use a grid of bulbs for their backlighting.
LED and CCFL are backlighting solutions used in LCDs. LED features individual LED bulbs or diodes, whereas CCFL uses CCFL bulbs. They are both designed to illuminate an LCD’s liquid pixels, but the way in which they perform this task varies.