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Sharp shows image-retaining LCD

Cut the power, still see a picture

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Boffins at Sharp have come up with an LCD that continues to show a picture when the power's pulled.

Demo'ing the technology in Japan this week, Sharp showed off black-and-white and colour versions of the panel, in a range of sizes running from 1.7in to 14.1in.

Unfortunately, the company didn't say how it has brought e-paper like image retention to LCD. Electronic ink displays use charge particles to produce the picture. When the power is cut, the particles retain their alignment within each pixel. Since it's that alignment which determines whether the pixel is black, grey or clear, the image is maintained.

LCDs, by contrast, require a continuous voltage for the liquid crystal to maintain the polarisation, which governs whether a given pixel is 'on' or not.

A Sharp spokesman admitted that the power consumption required to 'save' the image is large, Japanese newspaper Nikkei reports.

He also confirmed the system uses "some materials that are not usually seen in LCDs", though that doesn't prevent the company from punching out panels using its older LCD production lines.

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