MICHAEL W. DAVIDSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MICHAEL W. DAVIDSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Polarised light micrograph of a liquid crystal display (LCD) of the type used to represent numerical figures. Although liquid crystal (LC) flows like a fluid its molecular arrangement exhibits some order. An LCD has a film of LC sandwiched between crossed polarizers & set on top of a mirror. In the 'off' state (as here) light is able to traverse both polarizers, penetrate the LC and reflect back off the mirror. In the 'on' state (see: A608/042) an electric field applied across the LC alters its molecular alignment and hence its polarizing properties; light cannot traverse both polarizers to reach the mirror and the display appears dark.
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