How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works

Question 282

How do notebook computer monitors work?
These displays use liquid crystals, liquids that contain long chain or disk-shaped molecules. These molecules can be aligned by external electric fields or by their own interactions with one another to form very orderly arrays; hence the name "liquid crystals". The extent to which these molecules are oriented determines their optical properties. A notebook computer uses electric fields to orient or disorient the liquid crystals and control their optical properties. With some help from other optical devices, the notebook computer can make these liquid crystals block or unblock light to appear dark or light. Adding color filters allows them to produce colored images on their screens.

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