In the neverending quest to improve display technology, no component is left untouched. Light sources for non-emissive displays are significantly shifting away from lamp-based technology and toward newer, solid-state options like LEDs, organic LEDs (OLEDs), and lasers. Such developments are finding use as backlights for LCDs and as light sources for microdisplay-based projectors.
Solid-state technologies improve displays by increasing the color gamut, reducing the number of auxiliary optical films and components, and allowing new form factors that aren't possible with conventional lamps. They may save power and—eventually—reduce cost. And, they can improve image quality by providingsaturated red, green, and blue light instead of a broad spectrum that is then filtered to produce the primary colors.
The interest in these technologies among display makers is high. In some cases, such as LED backlights for mobile devices, adoption is already widespread. Only a few products have reached the market in larger panels and projectors, though demonstrations and prototypes abound. For greater market penetration, improvements are needed in thermal management, efficiency, lifetime, and cost. Notably, these lighting options aren't yet ready to serve all applications.
Despite these obstacles, iSuppli predicts healthy growth for solid-state and other emerging lighting technologies for backlights and projection sources. Their worldwide market is expected to expand to $1.96 billion in 2011, rising at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5% from 2005's $1.27 billion total. In the large-LCD market, including LCD-TVs, revenue for solid-state lighting sources is expected to rise at a rate of 276% during the same period.