An LED display is a flat panel display, which uses an array of light-emitting diodes as pixels for a video display. Their brightness allows them to be used outdoors where they are visible in the sun for store signs and billboards. In recent years, they have also become commonly used in destination signs on public transport vehicles, as well as variable-message signs on highways. LED displays are capable of providing general illumination in addition to visual display, as when used for stage lighting or other decorative (as opposed to informational) purposes.
Each pixel of an LCD typically consists of a layer of molecules aligned between two transparent electrodes, and two polarizingfilters (parallel and perpendicular), the axes of transmission of which are (in most of the cases) perpendicular to each other. Without the liquid crystal between the polarizing filters, light passing through the first filter would be blocked by the second (crossed) polarizer. Before an electric field is applied, the orientation of the liquid-crystal molecules is determined by the alignment at the surfaces of electrodes. In a twisted nematic (TN) device, the surface alignment directions at the two electrodes are perpendicular to each other, and so the molecules arrange themselves in a helical structure, or twist. This induces the rotation of the polarization of the incident light, and the device appears gray.
If the applied voltage is large enough, the liquid crystal molecules in the center of the layer are almost completely untwisted and the polarization of the incident light is not rotated as it passes through the liquid crystal layer. This light will then be mainly polarized perpendicular to the second filter, and thus be blocked and the pixel will appear black. By controlling the voltage applied across the liquid crystal layer in each pixel, light can be allowed to pass through in varying amounts thus constituting different levels of gray. Color LCD systems use the same technique, with color filters used to generate red, green, and blue pixels.