Liquid-crystal display (LCD) has become the world’s most popular display technology. From TVs and computer monitors to smartphones, human machine interfaces (HMIs) and smart wearables, countless display devices are powered by LCD technology. Not all LCDs are the same, however. While some of them are passive-matrix, others are active-matrix. What is an active-matrix LCD, and how does it work exactly?

The Basics of Active-Matrix LCDs

An active-matrix LCD is a type of LCD display device that’s characterized by the use of thin-film transistors. It still features liquid pixels. All LCDs contain a layer of liquid pixels, which is essentially what distinguishes them from other, non-LCD display technologies. Active-matrix LCDs simply contain thin-film transistors that are arranged in a grid-like pattern on the surface of the glass layer.

How Active-Matrix LCDs Work

Most modern LCDs use active-matrix technology. With active-matrix LCD technology. thin-film transistors are arranged in columns and rows on the surface of the glass layer. The purpose of these thin-film transistors is to control the pixels. The individual pixels can be quickly changed thanks to the presence of thin-film transistors.

Thin-film transistors are control mechanisms. They can turn the pixels on and off. With active-matrix LCDs, thin-film transistors provide greater control over the device’s individual pixels. The thin-film transistors cover the entire surface of the glass top layer. Therefore, they can control specific pixels in specific areas.

While all active-matrix LCDs feature thin-film transistors, they are available in different types. Some of the most common types of active-matrix LCDs include the following:

  • Twisted nematic (TN)
  • In-plane switching (IPS)
  • Super IPS
  • Vertical alignment
  • Blue phase
  • Advanced fringe field switching (AFFS)

Benefits of Active-Matrix LCDs

When compared to passive-matrix LCDs, active-matrix LCDs offer several benefits. They offer better contrast than passive-matrix LCDs, for instance. Contrast is the difference between the light and dark colors. Active-matrix LCDs produce better contrast than passive-matrix LCDs due to their thin-film transistors.

Active-matrix LCDs have better overall image quality. Image quality isn’t always a concern. Nonetheless, if you’re looking to invest in a new display device, you’ll probably want to choose a device with high-quality images. Active-matrix LCDs come out on top in regards to image quality. They can produce exceptionally high-quality images that are clearer and more detailed than those produced by passive-matrix LCDs.

All LCDs are energy efficient — and active-matrix LCDs are no exception. They’ll consume very little power during operation. With their energy-efficient design, you can’t go wrong with an active-matrix LCD.