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Laser-Based Display Technologies

Laser-based display technologies offer many advantages over traditional lamp and CRT displays, including wider color gamuts, higher luminance and accurate colors.

Laser displays create images by modulating the intensity of a laser beam with video information, deflecting it using galvanometers (scanners), mechanical mirror devices or acousto-optic devices.

Compact Microlaser Systems

Microlaser systems offer compactness and high power density that makes them an attractive option for military displays. Their low beam divergence also provides low intercept probabilities, making them a suitable option for secure transmissions and safety-critical applications. Their short coded pulse transmission capability also decreases chances of spoofing or jamming.

Microlaser systems with wide color gamuts at visible wavelengths have reignited interest in laser-based display technology, providing high resolution projection displays capable of accurately and consistently reproducing colors. Microlasers offer great potential to expand this color gamut further and are expected to bring great advantages in various display applications such as digital signage and augmented reality.

Laser-based displays can project images either by illuminating a spatial light modulator (SLM) and scanning it, or directly writing an image onto the screen using deflection devices such as electro-optic mirrors to convert laser beams to two dimensional patterns. Both types of displays can operate at various frame rates and resolutions for seamless performance.

Historically, laser-based displays have been powered by gas lasers with high power requirements and complicated cooling equipment. But with the introduction of efficient diode-pumped solid-state microlasers by LPC, size and power requirements for laser displays have drastically been reduced; LPC has created red, green and blue microlasers which occupy less than 4 in3 of space and produce one or more watts of output power!

Microlaser technologies enable more energy-efficient displays with enhanced luminance, longer lifespans and enhanced color fidelity. Their extended color gamut also offers significant advantages when matching displays to print devices.

Military leaders have long recognized the potential of laser technology. Both lethal and non-lethal weapons have been created; transient blindness or distraction to humans while destructive laser beams strike targets at distance; in some instances, intensities can even be adjusted remotely in order to limit collateral damage.

Wide Color Gamut

Laser projection displays offer an expansive color gamut, far exceeding that of standard RGB display space. This has far-reaching implications, opening up new possibilities in dome projections and simulators where highly saturated hues are essential for psychovisual effect. Furthermore, its expansive color gamut also permits dark images which would otherwise not be achievable using CRT or lamp projectors.

Laser displays have an expansive color gamut due to their combination of monochromaticity, brightness, and optical efficiency of laser light sources with self-emissive display panels. A typical system uses dichroic mirrors and acousto-optic modulators to split an krypton-argon laser into red, green, and blue beams before reconverging back together for use by color panels in color generation.

A tunable green laser provides the green component of this display, enabling it to be fine-tuned between vertex locations Green A and Green C (corresponding to approximately 501nm and 574nm on the 1931 CIE Chromaticity Diagram) by means of tuning it between vertex locations Green A and C on this spectrum diagram. When combined with fixed red and broadly tunable blue elements, these three lasers allow this display to produce all visible spectrum colors perceptible by human eyes.

Laser-based displays offer a very wide color gamut and provide consistent colors over long periods. This advantage over other display types is especially valuable for live events where projection needs to run continuously over extended time periods, or when accurately reproducing naturalistic scenes that require stable images.

To enhance laser displays in these environments, a speckle reduction technique has been devised that uses phase-shifting to reduce intensity fluctuations of laser light. Furthermore, speckle contrast is measured over various exposure times to determine its average color; this provides more precise and repeatable measures of display quality than traditional methods allow.

High Luminance

Laser-based projection display systems offer very large displays a bright luminance with an expansive color gamut and accurate grayscale images, driven at high currents to produce accurate gray scale images, long lifespans and relatively lower manufacturing costs make them a more efficient alternative than traditional projector lamps and CRT technology, offering greater visual consistency and brightness across screens with more uniform intensity levels across their surfaces.

Lasers have long been employed to produce thin-film transistors used to control individual pixels in flat panel displays. Sony engineers used a semiconductor laser to anneal an amorphous silicon layer on which they built thin-film transistors for this 27.3-inch (diagonal), active matrix OLED display containing 863 transistors arranged into rows on an active matrix OLED panel; its 800nm laser radiation converted to heat was sufficient to anneal and microcrystallineize its silicon substrate layer.

OLED display with 27.3-inch diagonal screen and total power consumption below 4W. Powered by a white krypton-argon laser light source that’s split into red, green, and blue wavelengths using dichroic mirrors; then modulated by three AOM with energy levels of 1 watt at 144MHz with rise times under 50 nanoseconds that meet video bandwidth requirements of 5MHz.

This setup produces an RGB image that offers wide color gamut coverage with high saturation and image resolution for use at viewing distances up to 20 feet in ambient lighting conditions.

Comparative to traditional displays like NTSC and SMPTE 240M, microlaser projection displays provide much wider saturated spectral colors that allow realistic imagery with colored shadows and other effects to be shown more realistically. As such, traditional displays struggle to achieve this level of realism.

These benefits make laser-based projection displays ideal for various uses, from projecting computer graphics on very large or irregular surfaces like mountain ranges or buildings to 360Adeg globes or clouds of smoke. Furthermore, laser displays can also be used to project live sporting events or concert performances in stadiums or arenas.

Accurate Color

Laser display technologies offer many benefits, from wider color gamuts and higher luminance levels to images with reduced speckle noise. Unfortunately, however, image quality varies based on beam shaping methods used, particularly speckle noise which degrades image quality by producing random interference patterns in the retina of an eye – thus making the ability to reduce speckle noise essential for high-quality laser displays.

Speckle noise results from an interaction between coherent light and the eye’s spatial and temporal response characteristics, and its color, contrast, and brightness levels in laser displays. Speckle noise has an adverse impact on color and contrast as well as being limited by brightness levels which cannot be achieved; hence its reduction remains an area of research in laser display technology.

A novel MEMS device has been created that can be used to modulate light output in laser displays. Consisting of individually addressable pixels that can be switched on or off at sub-nanosecond jitters, this MEMS device was employed as part of a prototype system to produce two-dimensional images where red, green and blue laser color primaries were combined via PWM (pulse width modulation).

GEMS (gigahertz electronic micro-mirror sensor) is another promising MEMS device, built upon an optically pumped semiconductor laser and capable of switching between multiple modes such as high resolution RGB. This has enabled prototype projection displays with three 1080-pixel devices illuminated with red, green and blue laser-color primaries to be created using this MEMS device.

MEMS devices aside, it is also possible to create large format display systems by combining lasers with other components. This offers an alternative to liquid crystal displays (LCDs); such systems use several projector engines that combine different colors of light into a single pixel, providing greater color gamut than LCDs alone.

Color accuracy in laser displays depends heavily on the phosphor used as color conversion layer and particle size of its particles. Aside from preparation method and temperature variations, preparation temperature, solvent composition and anning processes all have an impactful on this aspect – with smaller particle sizes leading to greater color accuracy in laser-based displays.
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