Science of Glass
Enabling the LCD Industry
When it comes to enhancing entertainment experiences, Corning is leading the way
Today’s displays are thinner and more immersive than ever, and Corning’s display glass innovations are enabling richer entertainment experiences for people all around the world. As one of the world-leading suppliers of glass substrates for LCD and advanced displays, Corning plays a key role in the LCD industry – and has helped propel the technology forward since the 1980s.
But Corning’s history in the display industry spans back even further than that. At the 1939 World’s Fair, a futuristic technology called a “television” was unveiled. Included in that new-fangled product? A circular cathode ray bulb manufactured by Corning. By the 1950s, Corning was producing glass for the black-and-white TV sets appearing in nearly every living room in the United States.
Fast forward to today, add rich, realistic color and collapse the display to less than an inch thick, and you have LCD televisions. In LCD screens, an always-on backlight projects light through a liquid crystal layer, sandwiched between two pieces of glass. When the liquid crystal is excited by an electric current, it lets the light of an individual pixel pass through like a shutter, delivering vibrant displays.
And Corning’s display glass innovations play an integral role in how those devices work.
In 1964, Corning invented the fusion overflow process, which forms specialty glass. As molten glass flows evenly over the top edges of a V-shaped trough, two thin, sheet-like streams form and meet at the bottom of the trough, fusing into a single sheet. First used to produce glass for automotive windshields, by the 1980s, the fusion process revolutionized the way LCD glass was manufactured, making thin, flat glass with exceptional stability and unparalleled surface quality. By using this process, glass is uniform in thickness and able to withstand heat-intensive processes like the application of LCD circuitry. The fusion process not only helped Corning set the standard for the display industry but has enabled other high-resolution, touch-enabled devices such as tablets and smartphones.
Corning’s display glass has an exceptional set of attributes highly attractive to panel makers.
- Exceptionally thin glass enables displays to be thinner and more lightweight.
- The dimensional stability of fusion-formed glass allows it to withstand high-process temperatures needed to create intricate circuitry that ultimately enables bright, vivid images and superior response time and picture quality for viewers.
- The optical clarity of the glass is essential for both smartphones and large-screen televisions, providing a crystal-clear image.
- As the first manufacturer of TFT-grade Gen 10.5 substrates in the world, Corning is capable of producing a sheet of glass that enables panel makers to cut either eight 65-inch panels or six 75-inch panels on one sheet of glass. That’s glass with twice the surface area of a king-sized bed, as thin as a business card, and flat to within 22 microns (that’s less than the width of the average human hair). Manufacturers use this industry-leading display glass for smartphones, televisions, tablets, notebooks, and other devices.
Today, Corning is continuing to shape the display industry, delivering a range of products that enable the even higher resolution, vivid, immersive displays consumers have come to expect.
Corning® EAGLE XG® Slim Glass
Do you remember the old, clunky TV sets that weighed a ton and had to be strategically placed in a room to not take up too much space? Today, displays are thinner than ever – and that’s thanks in part to Corning® EAGLE XG® Slim Glass substrates which can be roughly the thickness of aluminum foil. These substrates enable panel manufacturers to produce thinner, lighter, and more environmentally conscious display panels. But what does that mean for you, the viewer? Extremely thin displays which fit just about anywhere.
Corning Iris™ Glass
Who doesn’t love a thin, bright, vibrant display that enhances the style of your home? Light-guide plates (LGPs) enable this experience by pushing a pure, uniform distribution of light from the LEDs, along the edge, to the front of the display. LGPs are made of either glass or polymers (plastic), but polymer LGPs lack the dimensional and thermal stability required for ultra-slim – or thinner than the average smartphones – displays. Glass LGPs, like Corning Iris™ Glass, allow manufacturers to significantly reduce set thickness, narrow bezels, and increase set brightness, to deliver an enhanced viewing experience.
Corning Lotus™ NXT Glass
As screen resolutions have increased, high-performance display glass, such as Corning Lotus™ NXT Glass, have come into the picture. Lotus NXT Glass provides industry-leading levels of low total pitch variation, yielding brighter, more energy-efficient displays with higher resolutions. While well-suited to enable the latest OLED handheld displays, Lotus NXT Glass is also formulated for high-resolution LCDs.
LCDs have evolved throughout the years due in great part to Corning’s display glass innovations. Whether watching the news on your big screen TV in your living room or looking at a computer monitor at work, you can be certain Corning is enhancing your viewing experience – and will continue to do so for years to come.