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Sony Develops Silicon Crystal Display Technology For Full HD Video Applications

Press Release  |  Feb 27, 2003

NEW YORK, N.Y., Feb. 27, 2003 - Sony Electronics provided a technical briefing today related to the development of Silicon Crystal [X-tal] Reflective Display (SXRD), a new display technology that delivers full high-definition resolution (1920 x 1080) on a display panel, with over 3000:1 contrast ratio. The company demonstrated how SXRD technology provides smooth, film-like picture quality unavailable in previous fixed pixel displays.

"Sony currently offers a variety of televisions using different display technologies which addresses virtually every consumer need," said Tim Baxter, senior vice president of marketing for Sony's Visual Network Products Division. "However, the most demanding home theater enthusiasts and custom installation specialists insist upon products that provide full HD resolution while maintaining optimal brightness and the highest contrast ratio. Only our remarkable new SXRD technology can provide this level of performance."

High Resolution, High Contrast Picture Quality
The extraordinary picture quality generated by SXRD technology is primarily due to its sheer picture density, with more than 2 million pixels contained in each image area. By reducing both the size of each individual pixel, as well as the space between the pixels, SXRD more than doubles the pixel density and achieves a 10-fold inter-pixel spacing in comparison to high temperature Poly-Silicon liquid crystal display (H-LCD) devices. It also has a pitch of nine micrometers arranged just 0.35-micrometers apart.

The SXRD display device with the world's smallest inter-pixel spacing enables delivery of full HD (1920 x 1080, 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio) resolution within an image area measuring a mere 0.78-inches diagonally.

In addition, each SXRD liquid crystal cell gap measures less than two micrometers, which is far thinner than conventional H-LCD or Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) devices.

Sony's SXRD liquid crystal materials utilize an innovative molecular material, which is vertically aligned to the cell substrate, in contrast to the twisted Nematic liquid crystal commonly found in other projection devices. This new material ensures improved optical performance and enhanced driveability even in such a thin cell gap. The unique combination of the new material and the thin cell gap results in exceptional black level performance with a contrast ratio of over 3000:1, in addition to a rapid response time of less than five milliseconds. This is nearly a three-fold increase over conventional projector contrast levels.

Innovative Liquid Crystal Cell Assembly
In order to make SXRD a reality, Sony had to overcome the longstanding challenge of incorporating an inorganic alignment layer to the liquid crystal cell. This inorganic material has successfully replaced the organic polymide film previously used to align the liquid crystal. This material greatly improves device longevity, while ensuring more consistent, high resolution performance of the device.

Additionally, with conventional H-LCD devices, the substrates must be assembled one at a time to ensure uniform cell gap, while spacers (sometimes known as "columns") would also be inserted within the display area. However, with the SXRD device, through the new planarization technology of Silicon backplane and alignment layer fabrication process, the entire wafer can be assembled at once, without the spacers. This process significantly reduces both dust and contamination possibilities and is better suited for high efficiency, panel mass production.

The new SXRD device is ideal for virtually any demanding application where high definition content must be delivered in the most accurate way possible. Its features and capabilities allow for possible future use in both front projectors and rear projection television devices. Sony will introduce SXRD products during 2003 for the U.S. market.