3M debuts LCD backlight film with power of 3

June 11, 2012 — 3M Optical Systems Division unveiled its OneFilm optical film technology, which incorporates the functionality of three individual light management films into a single enhancement film for LCD backlights.

Display devices with LED backlights, such as notebook computers, LCD TVs, and digital signage can be made thinner with significantly reduced materials, manufacturing processes, and associated costs by using the film, 3M reports.

Conventional LED LCD backlights require three to four separate films — diffuser, prism, microlens, reflective polarizer — above the light guide. 3M’s OneFilm technology consists of a single film — all other films above the light guide are eliminated. It can also be used with direct-lit type backlights. OneFilm is compatible with existing manufacturing facilities and processes, and is simply placed in the backlight during assembly, in the same manner as current optical films. 

“OneFilm marks a significant technical advance for the display supply chain, furthering 3M’s ongoing quest to deliver the most efficient, cost effective backlight solutions for LCDs,” noted Jim Bauman, vice president and general manager, 3M Optical Systems Division. “It is now possible to make LCD backlights using only one free-floating film.”

Bauman added, “As a result of 3M’s cutting-edge technology, LCD manufacturers can benefit from the reduction of materials and costs, as well as design simplification, inspection and assembly processes to enable even thinner, light-weight displays.”

From a performance standpoint, OneFilm is comparable to conventional LCD film stacks (as measured by Nits/Watts) and exceeds conventional systems in wide-angle luminance, which is critical for notebooks, LCD TVs, and LCD digital signage, and devices where shared viewing is key.

OneFilm is based on 3M’s Collimating Multilayer Optical Film (CMOF) technology, which collimates light without refractive structures (no prisms). As a result, for the first time, LCDs with highly integrated optics are possible with a single free-floating film.

Rather than refracting, OneFilm collimates light by reflecting higher angle light back to the recycling cavity, while providing higher transmission for light closer to normal incidence. Wide angle luminance can be significantly higher than incumbent stacks which use refractive structures. OneFilm provides a smooth, monotonic change of luminance with angle, which enables superior viewing. 

OneFilm is currently in development and being evaluated for TVs, Digital Signage and Notebooks.

3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of ingenious products. Our culture of creative collaboration inspires a never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better. For more information, visit www.3M.com 

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