Giving to CREOL CREOL, The College of Optics & Photonics

SID Student Chapter Seminar: "Automotive LCD Smart-Glass Applications in Europe" by Dr. Leo Keller

Monday, December 11, 2017 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM
CREOL Room 103

Dr. Leo Keller


The chairman and CEO of AU Optronix, Paul Peng, has announced at the SID Display Week earlier this year, that automotive Smart-Glass LCD technologies would be at the eve of being introduced to the car industry within the next two years. As a matter of fact, several companies such as glass and LCD manufacturers as well as subassembly suppliers in the US, in Asia and in Europe are exploring the technology and are starting to present prototypes to the industry. Signum-KADEV, a German-Swiss venturing company, has started to develop IPO and liquid crystal technology knowhow in cooperation with a large automotive glass producer in 2015. Further engineering efforts of different LCD architectures, which have been undertaken with major German car manufacturers, are showing a promising performance with respect to sun-shading applications. It is the aim to make the liquid crystal technology more rigid and robust in order to integrate ultra-large format liquid crystal displays into windscreens, into sunroofs and into side window applications. The lamination of a dye-doped or a birefringent liquid crystal display into the safety glass sandwich remains the major challenge of the automotive LCD application. Large operating temperature ranges, shearing and torsion forces as well as free form car window shapes represent hurdles to be overcome in the coming years. Major concerns are related to the robuess of the seal area, the mechanical stability of the alignment and the prevailing spacer concepts.

On the LC mode architecture side, several concepts have been explored, fulfilling regulative and application specific requirements. The minimum transmittance of the windscreen, for example, has to reach at least 70% in order to comply with safety regulations in the US and in Europe. This excludes polarizer-based solutions and means to go back to Guest-Host technologies that have not been supported by academia since the late nineties because of the lack of a respective market potential. However, the low contrast ratios are still one of the issues to be overcome concerning the successful application of guest-host based solutions.

Concerning automotive sunroofs and side windows, adiabatic-following TN and birefringent VA technologies have been explored in order to achieve the required transmittance and contrast requirements. The mechanical stability of the homeotropic alignment structure as well as a reasonable compensation scheme for the light-leakage of polarization films and the homeotropic alignment still require our utmost attention.

In summary, the application of LCD technologies to automotive smart-glass applications offers exciting challenges to academic research and innovative industrial development. We share the comments of Paul Peng and are convinced that sun-shading automotive LCD applications are just waiting to being implemented in the very near future.


Dr. Leo Keller is the founder of Keller Associates, which is a technology consulting company bringing LCDs as sun-shading elements into the automotive industry together with a German partner company. They have successfully installed a Guest-Host sun-visor into a windscreen and are now working on sunroof and side-window projects for mayor German car manufacturers. 

For additional information:

Fangwang “Grace” Gou

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