4Physics logo  Effects of a Cut Glass Edge on Light Polarization and Tiled-LCD Quality

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J. M. Cohen
4Physics, Harrisburg, PA

M. R. Cohen
Physics Dept., Shippensburg University, Shippensburg, PA


Controlling polarization across the seam is critical to tiled AMLCD image quality. If polarization is spatially modulated by a structural feature, a visible artifact could be produced. Depolarization produced by a cut glass edge in tiled AMLCD and its effect on image quality are examined.


Tiled-AMLC displays1 use several AMLC tiles as building blocks for a larger display. Many factors in the construction of individual tiles can be accurately controlled, while the influence of other, uncontrolled variables must be ameliorated by alternate means. Plane polarized light, produced by the entrance polarizer of the AMLCD stack, may suffer a polarization change when scattered from the cut tile edges in the seam region of adjoining tiles. This results in altered transmission intensities after the exit polarizer.

Random, diffuse scattering from the imperfect edge can be viewed through the correlation between surface roughness and the total integrated scatter.2 To some extent, surface roughness issues can be approached by altering sawing and finishing techniques, or through improved refractive index matching of the adhesive used between tiles.

Larger microfacets and striations, however, can be produced in the cutting and polishing procedures with some measure of angular correlation. Depending on the orientation of the facet and the relative polarization of the incident light, the resulting reflection and transmission coefficients3 can produce significant light intensity with spatially modulated polarization at undesirable locations around the seam region. Attempts to reduce the correlations within this surface microstructure may be hindered by material and geometric constraints of the AMLCD.

The nature and extent of these end effects is considered here. Aside from incidence angle considerations, angular dependencies will not be addressed in this study. The angle-integrated results given are termed depolarization factors.


The depolarization factor was measured for light scattering from edge sections of the production level AMLC tiles used in display assembly. As the light of interest covers a broad wavelength range through the primary colors, the photometric instrumentation accessed significant wavelengths in each of these regions: 488 nm, 543.5 nm, 594.1 nm, and 632.8 nm. A sketch of the photometer appears below.

Set-up block diagram.
Significant reflections and transmissions for light hitting cut glass edge as discussed in text.


The level of depolarization for light scattered from the cut edge was measured by observing the light intensity for the tile sample between crossed linear polarizers. The sample assembly, shown above, consisted of a glass plate with an adhered linear polarizing film, followed by the AMLC tiles, and then ending with another linear polarizing film on a glass plate. A number of effects other than depolarization need to be normalized out of the final intensities.

Light intensity variations must be accounted for that arise from multiple reflections from the glass plates, variation in crossed polarizer transmission efficiency with incident light angle, and back reflection from the second polarizing film. To this end, measurements were made of reflected light intensities vs. incidence angle for model glass samples and for transmitted and reflected light intensities vs. incidence angle for model crossed linear polarizers. Sample data of this type, obtained at 488 nm, appears below.

Reflection versus incident angle for blue light (488 nanometers).
Percentage blue (488 nm) light passing through the stack that reached detector.


Once such factors have been accommodated, it is possible to evaluate the depolarization following scatter from the cut edge. Again, representative data acquired at a wavelength of 488 nm is shown below.

Percentage contributions exiting.



The authors gratefully acknowledge the technical and material support of the Rainbow Displays optical team under the direction of D. P. Seraphim. We particularly wish to thank R. G. Greene of Rainbow Displays for his helpful analyses and discussion.


1. R.G. Greene, J.P. Krusius, D.P. Seraphim, D. Skinner, and B. Yost, SID 2000 Digest, 30.3.

2. J. C. Stover, Optical Scattering, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1990, pp. 17 - 20.

3. Lipson, Lipson, and Tannhauser, Optical Physics, 3rd ed., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1995, pp. 106-117.

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