Optical bonding can improve display clarityYour typical flat panel display sits on your desk or hangs on your wall, housed in some sort of plastic enclosure that provides minimal protection from drops or bumps. This enclosure, however, does nothing for perhaps the most important part of the display: the viewing area!

A typical display is also designed to be viewed under the most ideal circumstances. In fact, where an LCD, OLED, or plasma display would best be displayed is a warm, darkened room with absolute stillness…the very same conditions that every sleeping baby in the cosmos prefers.

Of course, in the real world (where we spend most of our time), conditions are scarcely ever to our liking. Or the liking of your typical display. “The lights are too bright,” it whines. “Somebody shut that door,” it scolds. “My liquid crystals get all sluggish when the temperature drops!”

Anyone who has worked in an industrial, military, or medical environment knows that your typical flat screen display just won’t make it in the big leagues. No, it’s got to be better than out-of-the-box—or it will be nothing but a benchwarmer.

Optical bond cross section viewOptical bonding—the affixing of two optical elements to one another using an optically clear liquid adhesive—introduces your typical display to the big leagues and shouts, “Let’s play ball!”

As you probably know, light bends (refraction) as it enters a transparent material, General Digital’s Optical Bonding Laboratories selects the appropriate adhesive to match the index of refraction of the flat panel and the overlay. This enables us to remove all of the air gaps, thereby reducing the number of internal reflecting surfaces that can lead to degradation of optical performance. The all-important qualifier “optical” implies three things:

1) The adhesive is transparent.

2) The adhesive has a suitable refractive index.

3) The adhesive is made under adequate control such that there are no significant variations in the optical properties within a single bond.

There are many benefits to optical bonding; by providing a durable adhesion between the flat panel and the overlay, we improve the displays’ ability to resist shock, vibration and moisture. These improvements open up a whole new world for the typical flat screen display, freeing it from the confines of home office desks and man cave walls.

Since optical bonding can enhance a display’s contrast and luminance, optically bonded flat screen displays are well suited for applications where direct sunlight and high ambient light conditions would make your typical monitor virtually unreadable, such as air traffic control towers. Also, the ruggedization provided from optical bonding allows displays to survive the harsh conditions common to long haul trucking and military transport vehicles.

Optical bonding mass productionLet’s not forget moisture resistance: simply placing a protective overlay atop an LCD, OLED, or plasma display will allow condensation to develop between the two surfaces. In a marine environment, or any other place regularly subjected to high humidity, it is virtually impossible to prevent condensation from forming inside a monitor, as it will eventually “inhale” moisture into the enclosure. Once inside, it is extremely difficult to remove the water vapor. As a result, the protective clear overlay installed in front of the display will develop a fogged appearance when it becomes chilled. Optical bonding eliminates the air gap between the display and the overlay, thereby eliminating the opportunity for moisture to collect, and thus, condensation cannot form.

We can extend the operating temperature range of a monitor through the use of optically bonded LCD, OLED or plasma display heaters. When exposed to extreme temperatures, displays can experience:

•  changes/reduction in impact strength

•  condensation and freezing of water

•  static fatigue of restrained glass

•  anomalies in the optical bond may include:

–  delamination

–  crystallization of bond material

–  bubbles

–  other optical anomalies

These conditions may or may not return to normal after temperature stabilization.

The use of display heaters helps to improve the performance of flat panel displays and backlights when operating at low temperatures. In addition, Optical Bonding Laboratories also employs a special proprietary formula for cold temperature optical bonding, which maintains the bond integrity in temperatures as low as -55° C.

Display overlay options from Optical Bonding LaboratoriesBut optical bonding doesn’t merely introduce flat panel displays to the great outdoors; optical bonding gives displays super powers, too. Through the addition of overlays such as touch screens, vandal shields, hydrophobic coatings (to minimize fingerprints and smudges), EMI/RFI filters, contrast enhancement filters, and privacy filters, optical bonding enhances the utility of flat panel displays. This makes them suitable for use in all manner of commercial, medical, industrial, and military applications.

At General Digital’s Optical Bonding Laboratories, we understand the challenges faced by today’s display users. Because light-emitting displays (including CRT, LED, OLED, LCD, plasma, touch screens, and other technologies) are subject to a wide variety of environmental factors, the need for superior display enhancement and optical bonding technologies is of paramount importance. Since 2001, we’ve been dedicated to providing these expert services to meet any application needs. With our help, your display can meet the cruel world and survive the encounter!