Qualcomm's New Display Shows 'Continuous' Colors

Jun 5, 2014
Tetsuo Nozawa, Nikkei Electronics
The "Mirasol" display based on the "SMI" technology. Its size, pixel count and resolution are 5.1 inches, 2,560 x 1,440 and 577ppi, respectively. Its color is much more vivid that that of the IMOD technology.
The "Mirasol" display based on the "SMI" technology. Its size, pixel count and resolution are 5.1 inches, 2,560 x 1,440 and 577ppi, respectively. Its color is much more vivid that that of the IMOD technology.
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The mechanism of the IMOD technology
The mechanism of the IMOD technology
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The mechanism and color range of the SMI technology
The mechanism and color range of the SMI technology
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The "Qualcomm Toq," which was developed by using the IMOD technology
The "Qualcomm Toq," which was developed by using the IMOD technology
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Qualcomm MEMS Technologies Inc prototyped the "SMI (single mirror IMOD)," a next-generation version of its "Mirasol Display" reflective MEMS display, and demonstrated it at SID 2014.

The Mirasol is a display that uses a phenomenon in which a cavity (minute cylindrical resonator) interferes with light and generates a color. The color is called "structural color," like the colors of butterfly wings. And the display does not use a color filter, etc.

IMOD technology
The cavity of the previous Mirasol display has a film that functions as a mirror. A voltage is applied to the film to change the orientation of the film in the aim of controlling the reflective power of the cavity (gradation). This is called "Interferometric Modulator (IMOD)" technology.

When the IMOD technology is applied to a full-color panel, a cavity is used for each of red (R), green (G) and blue (b) subpixels, and RGB colors are realized by changing the depth at which the film is placed.

SMI technology
On the other hand, with the newly-developed SMI technology, both the orientation and depth of the film can be controlled. In other words, almost any color can be generated with one pixel. Considering that most existing color displays realize multiple colors by controlling the gradations of RGB colors, the new display is the first display that can show "continuous" colors.

In the demonstration, Qualcomm MEMS Technologies switched among several still images. But the new display can show video, depending on the backplane, the company said.