Membrane switches often feature fiber optic backlighting. It’s found in the rear of a membrane switch. During use, fiber optic backlight will distribute light through the overlay, resulting in uniform brightness. What is fiber optic backlighting in membrane switches exactly?

Fiber Optic Backlighting Explained

Fiber optic backlighting consists of optical fiber that’s woven together in layers. Most fiber optic backlighting solutions consist of at least two layers. Each layer features strands of optical fiber that are woven together. The fiber optic backlighting layers are then placed in front of a light source, such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs), where they help to distribute the light.

Fiber optic backlighting doesn’t produce light. It consists of optical fiber, which are designed to distribute light. Devices that support backlighting, though, may feature fiber optic backlighting.

How Fiber Optic Backlighting Works in Membrane Switches

Fiber optic backlighting works by leveraging the light-propagating properties of optical fiber. Optical fiber consists of transparent strands of material like glass or plastic. When exposed to light, light will travel through the optical fiber.

Many membrane switches feature a light source. LEDs, for instance, are commonly used in membrane switches. Membrane switches may feature a set of LEDs behind their overlay layer. The LEDs will produce light that illuminates the keys or buttons on the overlay layer.

In addition to a light source, though, some membrane switches feature fiber optic backlighting. Fiber optic backlighting doesn’t produce light. Instead, it distributes the light produced by the LEDs or other light source. Fiber optic backlighting will essentially guide the light to the overlay layer.

Reasons to Choose Membrane Switches With Fiber Optic Backlighting

Uniform brightness is a benefit of fiber optic backlighting. Without fiber optic backlighting, membrane switches may suffer from uneven brightness. They may be brighter in some areas of the overlay layer and darker in other areas. Fiber optic backlighting ensures uniform brightness by evenly distributing the light through the overlay layer.

Choosing a membrane switch with fiber optic backlighting may even save you money in energy costs. Fiber optic backlighting works in conjunction with a light source. The light source, of course, will consume energy to produce light. Fiber optic backlighting, however, can reduce the number of LEDs or bulbs needed to produce light. Membrane switches with fiber optic backlighting don’t need as many LEDs or bulbs are those without fiber optic backlighting. The end result is lower energy consumption.