Erving Goffman: Dramaturgy of Social Life

Erving Goffman: Dramaturgy of Social Life

Source: An Interview With Erving Goffman, 1980

I don’t know what your feelings are an this, but mine have been, coming from Chicago, that there was the tradition. of George Herbert Mead to provide the social psychological underpinnings or background for any study. From there one could go in all kinds of directions, one of which is the one [Everett] Hughes developed: a sort of occupational Sociology and basically Urban Ethnography. And what I did up to a few years ago before I got somewhat more interested in Sociolinguistics was a version of Urban Ethnography with Meadian Social Psychology. But that Meadian Social Psychology was a social psychological underpinning for a large amount of work in American Sociology and could, sort of, be taken for granted as just part of basic Sociology.

So, I’ve never felt that a label was necessary. If I had to be labeled at all, it would have been as a Hughesian urban ethnographer. And what happened about, I suppose, six or seven years ago, was some movement in Sociology for persons to classify themselves. On the social psychologicaI side, it was probably stimulated as a response to ethnomethodologists, who labeled themselves. They were on the social psychological side, I suppose the first group that oriented to a label that excluded and included. I always felt that the introduction of the term, symbolic interactionism, as a label for some sort of group was a response of people to tendencies in sociology to fracture and fragment and, for some of the persons in the fragments, to make a “club” of their profession. So I’ve never treated the label very seriously. I don’t think it applies very much.

Source: An Interview With Erving Goffman, 1980

The dramaturgy was partly just a name people applied. Burke, Kenneth Burke, was an influence in somewhat the same way. Louis Wirth, at the time we were all students in Chicago, felt that Permanence and Change [Burke, 1935/1954] was the most important book in Social Psychology. So we all read that, and that was a real influence on all of us I think. Burke’s later work somewhat less so. But then there was interactive process-one looks around in writing one’s stuff for references for authentication, authority, and the like and so one dips into things that one might affiliate oneself with. My main influences were [Lloyd] Warner and [A. R.] Radcliffe-Brown, [Emile] Durkheim, and Hughes. Maybe [Max] Weber also.

Source: An Interview With Erving Goffman, 1980

JV: I have two other questions, to conclude. The first one-you mention at a certain moment [Alfred] Schutz. What is the meaning of Schutz for your work?

EG: again it was a late sort of thing, but the last book on Frame Analysis [I974} was influenced by him. [Gregory] Bateson quite a bit, but Schutz’s [1967] paper on multiple realities was an influence. Schutz is continuing to be something of an influence. His stuff on the corpus of experience and that sort of thing. There are some ways in which he impinges upon sociolinguistic concerns, but I can’t profess to be a close student.

Key Terms

  • Roles
  • Drama
  • Face to Face Interaction
  • Frames
  • Scenes
  • Scenarios
  • Social Simulation
  • Life as Drama
  • Social Psychology
  • Symbolic Interactionism
  • Erving Goffman
  • Kenneth Burke
  • Front Stage
  • Backstage
  • Entry and Exit
  • Performance
  • Interaction Order
  • Interaction Rituals
  • Impression Management
  • Faces and Masks
  • World as a Play
  • Universal Drama
  • Natyashastra of Bharata Muni
  • Poetics of Aristotle
  • Public and Private
  • Online and Offline
  • Faces of Men
  • Ritual Masks
  • Integral Theory
  • Integrated Self
  • Integral Psychology

Erving Goffman


Erving Goffman (1922–1982) developed a dramaturgical theory of the self and society inspired by Mead’s basic conception of social interaction. In the selection below, excerpted from the book The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Goffman presents a theory that likens social interaction to the theater. Individuals can be seen as performers, audience members, and outsiders that operate within particular “stages” or social spaces. Goffman suggests that how we present our selves to others is aimed toward “impression management,” which is a conscious decision on the part of the individual to reveal certain aspects of the self and to conceal others, as actors do when performing on stage.

List of Publications

  • 1959. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.
  • 1961a. Encounters: Two Studies in the Sociology of Interaction. New York: The Bobbs- Merrill Co.
  • 1961b. Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.
  • 1963a. Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall Inc.
  • 1963b. Behavior in Public Places: Notes on the Social Organization of Gatherings. New York: Macmillan.
  • 1967. Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-to-Face Behavior. New York: Harper and Row.
  • 1969. Strategic Interactions. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • 1974. Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience. New York: Harper and Row.
  • 1976/1979. Gender Advertisements. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press


Erving Goffman


The son of Ukrainian immigrant parents, Erving Manual Goffman was born on 11 June 1922 in Mannville, Alberta, Canada. He attended high school in Winnipeg and entered the University of Manitoba in 1939, majoring in natural sciences. However, his interests shifted toward the social sciences before he left in 1942, still some credits short of his degree. He returned to study at Toronto in 1944, obtaining a BA degree in 1945. That fall he began studies toward the MA degree in sociology at the University of Chicago. Initially influenced by W. Lloyd Warner, his 1949 master’s thesis gave an ethnographic analysis of the responses of cosmopolitan middle-class women as they refused to take entirely seriously the demands of the Thematic Apperception Test that Goffman administered. His doctoral dissertation, “Communication Conduct in an Island Community” (1953), was based on fieldwork in the Shetland Islands sponsored by the University of Edinburgh’s Social Anthropology department. In it Goffman first introduced the term “interaction order” to describe the domain of social life established by co-present persons. This was the sociological terrain he made his own. The investigation of the properties of the interaction order provided the thread that ran through the disparate topic-matters of his eleven books and more than a dozen significant journal articles. Goffman stayed another year in Chicago following the successful defense of his dissertation, drafting an original monograph (The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, first published in 1956 in Edinburgh) and papers on face-work, embarrassment, involvement, and deference and demeanor. Between the end of 1954 and 1957 he worked as a researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health, conducting the fieldwork and writing that led to Asylums (1961). Appointed to the University of California, Berkeley, in 1958, he rose quickly to full professor in 1962. A sabbatical year at Harvard prefigured a move to the University of Pennsylvania in 1968, where he remained until his untimely death in 1982.

Major Works

It was the publication of the enlarged Anchor Books edition of Goffman 1959 at signaled Goffman’s arrival as a distinctive voice within English-speaking sociology. He quickly consolidated his reputation with another four books appearing before the end of 1963. Goffman 1961a analyzes the mental patient’s situation. Goffman 1961b is a technical analysis of the role of fun and the mobilization of identity in interaction. Aspects of co-present behavior in public are covered in Goffman 1963a and Goffman 1971Goffman 1963b is a classic contribution to deviance studies. Calculation and risk in face-to-face dealings are explored in Goffman 1967 and Goffman 1969Goffman 1974 regrounds his sociology around the “frame” notion. Goffman 1979 is a classic contribution to visual sociology. Goffman 1981a provides unique insights into conversational interaction.

Goffman, Erving. 1956. The presentation of self in everyday life. Edinburgh: Univ. of Edinburgh, Social Sciences Research Centre.The long-established life as drama metaphor was adapted and developed to shed specific light on the details of face-to-face conduct. Goffman introduced the notion of impression management and developed his dramaturgical perspective in ingenious ways. Outlines six dramaturgical “principles”: performances, teams, regions and region behavior, discrepant roles, communication out of character, and the arts of impression management. It offered not a static classification of forms of conduct but an analysis examining dynamic issues about projecting and sustaining definitions of the situation.

Goffman, Erving. 1959. The presentation of self in everyday life. New York: Anchor Books.A version of Goffman 1956 that retained the same chapter structure but expanded its content. New illustrations of dramaturgical concepts have been added to those already included in the earlier edition and illustrations previously mentioned in footnotes often relocated to the main text.

Goffman, Erving. 1961a. Asylums: Essays on the social situation of mental patients and other inmates. New York: Anchor Books.Based on a year’s fieldwork at St. Elizabeths Hospital, Washington, DC, the book presents four essays. The first examines the mental hospital as a closed environment, a “total institution”; the second, the changes in the mental patient’s framework for judging themselves and others (their “moral career”); the third analyzes the rich “underlife” of the hospital through which the patient can express distance from the model of social being held out by the hospital; the fourth is a critique of institutional psychiatry.

Goffman, Erving. 1961b. Encounters: Two studies in the sociology of interaction. Indianapolis: Bobbs Merrill.Encounters are those interactions where the participants sustain a single focus of cognitive and visual attention. Examination of the “fun in games” shows the importance of involvement and the “membrane” that selects the wider social attributes allowed to figure within the enclosed interaction. An alternative to functionalist role theory, “role distance” captures the actualities of interactional conduct expressed in the various forms of joking, irony, and self-deprecation that imply the self is other than the implied by current role demands.

Goffman, Erving. 1963a. Behavior in public places: Notes on the social organization of gatherings. New York: The Free Press.A study not of public places as such but of the kinds of interaction typically found therein. Introduces the key notions of unfocused interaction, where persons pursue their own concerns in the presence of others, and focused interaction where persons cooperate in sustaining a single focus of attention. Includes important discussions of situational proprieties, civil inattention, body idiom, involvement, and participation.

Goffman, Erving. 1963b. Stigma: Notes on the management of spoiled identity. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.An examination of the situation and relationships of persons disqualified from full acceptance within a situation. Drawing on studies of disability, ethnicity, crime, deviance and social problems it shows how the “discredited” and the “discreditable” manage their dealings with “normals.” Presents useful distinctions between social, personal, and ego or felt identity and introduces the now popular notion of the “politics of identity.”

Goffman, Erving. 1967. Interaction ritual: Essays on face-to-face behavior. New York: Anchor Books.Draws together journal articles mainly from the 1950s on face-work, deference and demeanor, embarrassment, alienation from interaction, and mental symptoms, each demonstrating how a sociology of interaction focuses on “not men and their moments” but “moments and their men” (p. 3). Included also is a new study based on his observations of gambling in Nevada casinos, “Where the Action Is.” Goffman’s focus on “fateful” activities and situations (i.e., those both problematic and consequential) has catalyzed further studies of gambling and other risky activities.

Goffman, Erving. 1969. Strategic interaction. Philadelphia: Univ. of Philadelphia Press.The book’s two chapters examine the role of deception and calculation in “mutual dealings.” “Expression games” explore “one general human capacity . . . to acquire, reveal and conceal information” (p. 4) concentrating on the inferences that can be made about the intentions of others. “Strategic interaction” considers the bases of decision-making in circumstances that are mutually fateful. Both chapters complicate Mead’s notion of taking the attitude of the otherand the simple notions of intersubjectivity it sometimes implied.

Goffman, Erving. 1971. Relations in public: Microstudies of the public order. New York: Basic Books.Continues the interests in unfocused and focused interaction announced in Behavior in Public Places. Its six free-standing chapters explore “singles” and “withs,” types of personal territories that help preserve the self, “supportive interchanges,” and “remedial interchanges” that keep everyday dealings in good order “tie-signs” and “normal appearances” that enable relationships, places, and situations to make sense. The 1969 article “The Insanity of Place” is appended. Deeply biographical, it outlines the havoc wrought by a mentally ill person in the home.

Goffman, Erving. 1974. Frame analysis: An essay in the organization of experience. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.Ten years in the making, and apparently intended as his magnum opus, Goffman explores experiential dimensions of social life. Offers a conceptual terminology addressing the fundamental practical problem, What is going on here? While experience is made sense via primary frameworks, these can be transformed into keyings and fabrications. How frames are grounded and their vulnerabilities is a major analytic concern. The conceptual framework is put to work in studies of the theatrical frame (chap. 5) and talk (chap. 13).

Goffman, Erving. 1979. Gender advertisements. London and Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan.Analyzes how gender is displayed in advertising imagery using over five hundred advertisements and other public pictures. The leading themes of Goffman’s “pictorial pattern analysis” of the pictures—relative size, the feminine touch, function ranking, the family, the ritualization of subordination, and licensed withdrawal—manifest stark gender differences. Goffman’s book anticipates Judith Butler’s famed performativity thesis by over a decade.

Goffman, Erving. 1981a. Forms of talk. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Three of the book’s five chapters were previously published. “Replies and Responses” provides a critique of conversation analysis, presenting an ostensibly more open model of reference-response. “Response Cries” makes a case for a sociology of non-lexical utterances. “Footing” is a general statement about alignment: how co-conversationalists’ identities are evident in how we produce or receive talk. “The Lecture” applies much of the preceding approaches to the ceremonial lecture. “Radio Talk” concentrates on DJs’ speech errors in order to understand the features of imperfections in ordinary talk.

Emotionally Naked

  • No Defenses
  • No Guards
  • No Masks
  • No Boundaries
  • No Frontstage
  • No Backstage
  • I am yours
  • As I am
  • Completely Exposed
  • Emotionally Naked.

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Phenomenological Sociology

Phenomenology and Symbolic Interactionism

A Unifying Model of Arts

Boundaries and Distinctions

Boundaries and Networks

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Key Sources of Research

An Interview With Erving Goffman, 1980

Verhoeven, Jef C.(1993)

Research on Language & Social Interaction,26:3,317 — 348

DOI: 10.1207/s15327973rlsi2603_5

The Presentation of Self (Goffman’s Dramaturgical model)

Erving Goffman, Dramaturgy, and On-Line Relationships

Nikki Sannicolas

The Dramaturgical Model

Wood, J. T. (2004). Communication theories in action: An introduction (3rd ed., pp. 118– 122). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Goffman and Dramaturgical Sociology

  • January 2017

Philip Manning

Presentation of Self in everyday life

Erving Goffman

Click to access Goffman_PresentationOfSelf.pdf

Erving Goffman

By Dr Phil Henry, University of Derby

in Sener, O., Sleap, F., & Weller, P. Dialogue Theories II. London: Dialogue Society, pp. 157-172

The private and the public in online presentations of the self

A critical development of Goffman’s dramaturgical perspective

Fredrik Aspling

Department of Sociology 2011

Master’s Thesis, 30 ECTS Sociology
Spring 2011
Supervisor: Árni Sverrisson

Click to access FULLTEXT01.pdf

Frant and Back Regions of Everyday Life

Erving Goffman

Click to access Goffman.Front.pdf


Erving Goffman

Metaphorical analogies in approaches of Victor Turner and Erving Goffman: Dramaturgy in social interaction and dramas of social life

Ester Võsu

Department of Ethnology, University of Tartu Ülikooli 18, 50410 Tartu, Estonia e-mail:

SME contractors on the stage for energy renovations?

A dramaturgical perspective on SME contractors’ roles and interactions with house owners

Meaningful Performances: Considering the Contributions of the Dramaturgical Approach to Studying Family

Jessica L. Collett* and Ellen Childs

University of Notre Dame

Sociology Compass 3/4 (2009): 689–706,


Click to access 2009-3.pdf

Goffman’s Dramaturgy: A case study analysis for potential inclusion in communication theory studies

Jennifer Dell August 2014

The con man as model organism: the methodological roots of Erving Goffman’s dramaturgical self

Michael Pettit

York University, Canada

History of the Human Sciences 000(00) 1–17

Lecture 27: The Dramaturgical Approach

Sociology 3308: Sociology of Emotions

Prof. J.S. Kenney

Click to access EmClss27.pdf

All The Web’s a Stage: The Dramaturgy of Young Adult Social Media Use

Jaime R. Riccio 2013

Theses – ALL. 16.

Chapter 4: Social Structure and Social Interaction

Click to access chapter%204%20outline.pdf

Public and private faces in web spaces – How Goffman’s work can be used to think about purchasing medicine online. 

Lisa Sugiura

Working Papers in Health Sciences 1: 4 Summer ISSN 2051-6266 / 20130019

When Erving Goffman was a Boy

Sherri Cavan July, 2011




Click to access index.pdf

12 – Erving Goffman and Dramaturgical Sociology

The Cambridge Handbook of Social Theory

Print publication year: 2020 Online publication date: December 2020

Framing Social Interaction

Continuities and Cracks in Goffman’s Frame Analysis

Persson, Anders

Published: 2018-01-01

(1 ed.) London & New York: Routledge.

Click to access 9781317133544_preview.pdf

Self-Presentation on Social Networking Sites

Houda Sassi and Jamel-Eddine Gharbi

7 October 2015

Journal of Internet Social Networking and Virtual Communities Vol. 2015 (2015), Article ID 406328, 9 pages
DOI: 10.5171/2015.406328


Leslie A. Houts 2004

PhD Thesis

Click to access houts_l.pdf

Say, display, replay: Erving Goffman meets Oscar Wilde

Jean-Rémi Lapaire

Miranda: Revue pluridisciplinaire sur le monde anglophone. Multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal on the English- speaking world , Laboratoire CAS (Cultures anglo-saxonnes), 2016. halshs-01628909

Dramaturgy and Social Movements: The Social Construction and Communication of Power *

Robert D. Benford, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Scott A. Hunt, University of Kentucky

Sociological Inqiry Vol. 62, No. 1, February 1992

Social Dramaturgy: How We Develop Masks to Interact

We Are All Considered Actors


Extending Goffman’s Dramaturgy to Critical Discourse Analysis: Ed Burkhardt’s Performance after the Lac-Mégantic Disaster

Jennifer Dell

Mount Saint Vincent University


Sociology 319 – Contemporary Social Theories

February 15, 2006

Symbolic Interactionism

Readings:  CST, chapter 8 and two readings from Goffman in class handout.

Organizational Analysis: Goffman and Dramaturgy  

Peter K. Manning

The Oxford Handbook of Sociology, Social Theory, and Organization Studies: Contemporary Currents

Edited by Paul Adler, Paul du Gay, Glenn Morgan, and Mike Reed

Print Publication Date: Oct 2014 Publication Date: Jan 2015

DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199671083.013.0012

Frame Analysis: An essay on organization of experience

Erving Goffman

Phenomenological Sociology

Phenomenological Sociology

Key Terms

  • Interaction
  • Networks
  • Culture
  • Acts of Meaning
  • Grammar of Motives
  • Intention
  • Context
  • Frames
  • Meaning
  • Symantic
  • Symbolic
  • Self, Mind, Society
  • Self, Culture, Nature
  • Contextually dependent form of Meaning
  • Pragmatic
  • Phenomenological Sociology (Alfred Schutz)
  • Cultural Sociology
  • Phenomenology
  • Sociology
  • Mind
  • Phenomenological Hermenutics
  • Intersubjectivity
  • Transcendental Phenomenology (Edmund Husserl)
  • Transcendental Subjectivity
  • Interpretive Sociology (Max Weber)
  • Mundane Phenomenology ( Alfred Schutz)
  • Life World
  • Embeddedness in Society
  • Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann in The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge
  • Ethnomethodology introduced by Harold Garfinkel in the early 1960s
  • Merleau-Ponty and Heidegger
  • The Phenomenology of the Social World (1932/1972), Collected Papers I-III (1962-1966), and The Structures of the Life-World, co-authored by Thomas Luckmann and published in 1973 (Alfred Schutz)
  • George Psathas

Source: Phenomenological Sociology – The Subjectivity of Everyday Life

The Phenomenological Sociology of Everyday Life

Among the key figures in phenomenological sociology are Alfred Schutz (1899-1959), author of the works The Phenomenology of the Social World (1932/1972), Collected Papers I-III (1962-1966), and The Structures of the Life-World, co-authored by Thomas Luckmann and published in 1973; Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, authors of the book The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge (1966/1991); and finally Harold Garfinkel, whose most important publication in this context is Studies in Ethnomethodology (1967). These will be dealt with below.

Alfred Schutz

Alfred Schutz is often referred to as the founder of phenomenological sociology. Schutz originally studied law and obtained his PhD from Vienna in 1921. Subsequently, he worked in a bank, however, and it was not until 1943, after his emigration to the USA, that Schutz obtained a part-time position at a university, namely New School for Social Research in New York. In 1952 he became professor at the same institution.

Schutz was initially inspired by Max Weber’s interpretive sociology. However, although Weber regarded meaningful action as the central topic of the social sciences, and although he emphasized the importance of an explicit thematization of the meaning that the individual actor attributes to her own action, he did not examine the constitution of social meaning as such, and was generally uninterested in fundamental questions in epistemology and the theory of meaning. It is precisely this gap that Schutz attempts to fill by combining Weber’s sociology with Husserl’s phenomenological methodology (Schutz 1932/1972:13).

Schutz claims that we experience the world as containing various relatively distinct and independent provinces of meaning (Schutz 1962:230). Dreams, for example, have their own unique temporal and spatial ‘logic’. The same goes for children’s play, stage performances, religious experience, and so on. According to Schutz, science and research, too, take place within a distinct province of meaning. One region has a special status, however, and that is the life-world. This is not only because it is the region in which we spend most of our lives. Equally important is the fact that each of the other regions, or limited ‘realities’, is a modification of the life-world. The ‘realities’ of science and of dreams, for example, are regions that one enters by ‘bracketing’ or ‘switching off’ in some way the quotidian life-world; and to that extent they both fundamentally presuppose the reality of the life-world (Schutz 1962:231-233; see Berger & Luckmann 1966/1991:39-40). Following Husserl, Schutz employs the term epoché for such ‘switching off’. When we dream, for example, we perform an epoché on the rules that in everyday reality govern the identities of persons and places. Most of us are thus familiar with dreams in which an event that takes place in one country switches to another location, without this being perceived as particularly odd within the universe of the dream.

Since it is the life-world rather than the mathematicized world of science that constitutes the frame and stage of social relations and actions, the sociologist, Schutz argues, should take her point of departure in the former. What is needed is a systematic examination of everyday life, and this requires a new type of sociological theory. Schutz’s concrete contribution here is twofold. First, he aims to describe and analyze the essential structures of the life-world. Second, he offers an account of the way in which subjectivity is involved in the construction of social meaning, social actions and situations – indeed social ‘worlds’. Relying on Husserl’s analyses of intentionality and the life-world, Schutz accordingly claims that the social world reveals and manifests itself in various intentional experiences. Its meaningfulness is constituted by subjects, and in order to understand and scientifically address the social world it is therefore necessary to examine the social agents for whom it exists as such.

It is partly for this reason that Schutz claims that the subject matter of the social sciences is more complex than that of the natural sciences. As he puts it, the social sciences must employ ‘constructs of the second degree’ (Schutz 1962:6), because the ‘objects’ of these sciences – social agents – themselves employ ‘first-order constructs’ of the reality around them. Of course, the social sciences must satisfy the same sorts of requirements as other empirical sciences: scientific results must be controllable and reproducible by other scientists working in the field, and scientific theories must be precise, consistent, and so on (Schutz 1962:49-52). Schutz also stresses that social scientists and natural scientists alike are motivated by other, more theoretical interests than the everyday person is guided by. The everyday person is an agent rather than a theoretical observer; she has practical interests and is normally guided by common-sense knowledge and understanding. The social scientist, by contrast, is not an agent in the social relations she studies. A scientific researcher, regardless of whether she studies social hierarchies in Scottish factories or electrons and amino acids, is an observer, not a participant. Schutz thus insists that the social scientist must maintain a distance to the phenomena she studies. However, the social sciences examine human beings in manifold social relations, and human agents have interests, motives, self-interpretation and an understanding of the world they live in – all of which must be taken into account if we want to understand social reality in its full concretion (Schutz 1962:6; Gurwitsch 1974:129). This radically distinguishes social science from natural science: the latter obviously has no need to take into account the self-understanding and self-interpretation of the objects studied (electrons and amino acids have no self-understanding). Schutz thus emphatically rejects reductionist programs, such as behaviourism and positivism, which attempt to reduce human action to observable behaviour and stimulus-response mechanisms. The social scientist must construct credible models of everyday agents – models that include such things as consciousness, motives and understanding. The task is to make explicit the meaning and significance these structures and relations have for the observed agents themselves (see Schutz 1964:7).

For Schutz, the investigation of intersubjectivity – in particular, of how one subject has experiential access to another subject, and how a community of ‘we’ is constituted – has a central place in sociological theory (see Schutz 1932/1972:97-99). A further task is to give an account of how a multitude of experiences can constitute the structures of meaning that make up social reality. As Schutz writes, every science of social meaning refers back to our meaning-constituting life in the social world: to our everyday experience of other persons, to our understanding of pre-given meanings, and to our initiation of new meaningful behaviour (Schutz 1932/1972:9). Schutz’s phenomenological perspective thus emphasizes that the primary object of sociology is not institutions, market conjunctures, social classes or structures of power, but human beings, that is, acting and experiencing individuals, considered in their myriad relations to others, but also with an eye to their own, meaning-constituting subjective lives. Schutz’s point, of course, is not that sociology should have no interest whatsoever in institutions, power structures, and the like. Rather, he merely insists that a concept such as ‘power structure’ must be regarded as a sort of ‘intellectual shorthand’, which can be useful for certain purposes, but must never lead us to forget that, in the end, power structures presuppose experiencing, interpreting and acting individuals (Schutz 1962:34-35; 1964:6-7). Along with Husserl and other phenomenologists, Schutz thus understands sociality as inter- subjectivity – that is, as something that is ultimately anchored in individual subjects.

According to Schutz, each of us experiences his or her social environment as structured in ‘strata’ or ‘layers’ around himself or herself. Temporally as well as spatially, these layers are, for each individual, structured with that individual as the centre. With regard to the temporal structure, Schutz distinguishes between three layers or spheres:

In the dimension of time there are with reference to me in my actual biographical moment ‘contemporaries’, with whom a mutual interplay of action and reaction can be established; ‘predecessors’, upon whom I cannot act, but whose past actions and their outcome are open to my interpretation and may influence my own actions; and ‘successors’, of whom no experience is possible but toward whom I may orient my actions in a more or less empty anticipation. All these relations show the most manifold forms of intimacy and anonymity, of familiarity and strangeness, of intensity and extensity (Schutz 1962:15-16; see Berger & Luckmann 1966/1991:46-49).

With regard to my contemporaries, there are various layers of ‘spatial’ proximity and distance, familiarity and strangeness. Some people are part of my immediate environment. Schutz says that I have a ‘face-to-face’ relationship with those people, but this expression is intended to refer to ‘a purely formal aspect of social relationship equally applicable to an intimate talk between friends and the co-presence of strangers in a railroad car’ (Schutz 1962:16; see Berger & Luckmann 1966/1991:43-46). Obviously, even in the course of a whole lifetime, I have this sort of spatial proximity with only a very small percentage of the population of the world. This does not mean, however, that the rest of humanity is not part of my environing world at all. There is some mutual contact and influence, however vague, indirect and insignificant, between most of my contemporaries and me.

According to Schutz, the experience of the life-world is a process of typification. We employ a repertoire of maxims and recipes – a type of practical ‘know-how’ – for understanding and dealing with the world and other people. Objects in the life-world are not simply unique, individual entities, but ‘mountains’, ‘trees’, ‘houses’, ‘animals’, and ‘persons’. No matter what we encounter, it is something whose more or less general ‘type’ we are familiar with. A person who has only very limited knowledge of trees can perhaps not tell whether the tree she passes in the woods is an elm or a beech, but she sees it immediately as ‘a tree’. In other words, we have a kind of immediate knowledge about how to understand our environment. The primary source of this knowledge is previous experience – both experiences we have had ourselves, and experience transmitted to us by others.

Obviously, typifications also play an important role in our social life. We immediately experience others in a typified manner. Not only people with whom we are personally acquainted or bump into on the train, or with whom we communicate via the internet, but also people with whom we never have any direct contact; indeed, we even typify in various ways our predecessors and possible successors. In fact, we do not only experience objects and living creatures as typified, but also actions, situations, motives, personalities, and so forth. Schutz writes:

Putting a letter in the mailbox, I expect that unknown people, called postmen, will act in a typical way, not quite intelligible to me, with the result that my letter will reach the addressee within typically reasonable time. Without ever having met a Frenchman or a German, I understand ‘Why France fears the rearmament of Germany’. Complying with a rule of English grammar, I follow a socially approved behaviour pattern of contemporary English-speaking fellow-men to which I have to adjust my own behaviour in order to make myself understandable. And, finally, any artefact or utensil refers to the anonymous fellow-man who produced it to be used by other anonymous fellow-men for attaining typical goals by typical means (Schutz 1962:17; see Schutz 1932/1972:185).

An action such as putting a letter in the mailbox involves a typification of other people and their motives in time and space. I implicitly assume that certain typical other people have certain typical motives (for example, that they want to do their job well) and therefore will perform certain typical actions in such a way that my letter will arrive at its destination. According to Schutz, another element in this pattern of typification is an assumption that others have ‘systems of relevancies’ that are similar to my own (Schutz 1962:12); in other words, that others will by and large consider those things important that I myself regard as important. Of course, Schutz does not claim that we implicitly assume that others’ interests, projects and tastes are exactly like our own. Rather, he is trying to direct attention to something much more fundamental. If I send a letter to China, for example, I assume that Chinese postal workers will consider the address written on the envelope more important than, say, the size or colour of the envelope, when determining to which part of China the letter should be sent. According to Schutz, this idea about the ‘congruence of the systems of relevancies’ is part of a larger complex of implicit assumptions, which he calls the thesis of ‘the reciprocity of perspectives’ (Schutz 1962:11, 147). We do not merely assume that our systems of relevancies are in tune, but also that we should view things in the same way if we could view them from other people’s perspectives. This point applies not only to spatial perspectives, but also to culturally, historically and biographically conditioned ‘perspectives’.

As an agent in the life-world, however, I not only typify others. For example, my very imperfect understanding of the motives and actions of postal workers will lead me to typify some of my own actions when posting a letter. I try to write in such a way that a typical postal worker will be able to decipher my handwriting; I write the address in a typical place on the envelope, etc. Briefly put, I try to make myself the typical ‘sender of a letter’ (see Schutz 1962:25-26).

In connection with his analyses of the typifying assumptions that are implicit in any life- worldly action, Schutz also offers a close analysis of the motives for actions. He argues that we need to distinguish between two types of motives: ‘in-order-to’ motives and ‘because’ motives. An agent’s in-order-to motive is what she wants to achieve with the action – her aim or purpose. From the perspective of the agent, the in-order-to motive is thus directed at the future, that is, at the state of affairs that the action is supposed to realize. The because motive, in contrast, has to do with the agent’s past and the circumstances that made her seriously consider the course of action she adopts. Schutz’s favourite example involves a person who commits murder in order to obtain the victim’s money. The in-order-to motive is straightforward: the purpose is to obtain money. The because motive is rather more complex, in that it includes all the factors that contributed to putting the agent in a situation where she could project and carry out this action. Her problematic childhood and her drug addiction may, for example, be part of the because motive. In ordinary language, both types of motive can be expressed by ‘because’ utterances, while only in-order-to motives can be expressed by ‘in-order- to’ utterances. It makes sense to say both ‘I hit him because I wanted his money’ and ‘I hit him because I was abused as a child’, but only the former sentence can be turned into an ‘in- order-to’ sentence. ‘I hit him in order to get his money’ makes perfect sense; ‘I hit him in order to have been abused as a child’ does not (Schutz 1962:69-72).

My aims and interests decide how I experience things and people around me. As already suggested, these interests are mainly practical rather than theoretical (Schutz 1962:208). Thus, although I have many levels of typification at my disposal, my interest usually picks out one such level as salient. With regard to some people and objects, I am only interested in certain typical features or aspects, whereas other things may not interest me in their typicality, but only in their uniqueness. My interest in the postal worker usually does not go beyond her typical motives and actions qua postal worker: her blood type and hobbies, for example, are of no interest to me. In fact, it would not matter much if pigeons or robots rather than human beings delivered my letters, as long as something ‘performed’ certain typical actions in such a way that my letters would reach their addressees. If I encounter a large, growling animal in the woods on a dark night, this creature does not strike me as an example of a spatially extended thing, but as a dangerous animal. The book a good friend gave me as a birthday present ten years ago, on the other hand, is not for me a typical ‘book’, nor is it, more specifically, ‘a copy of The Brothers Karamazov’ that could simply be replaced by another, identical copy. Rather, for me this object is unique. The same obviously goes for my friends and family. I do not regard them as ‘mammals’, specimens of homo sapiens or ‘postal workers’, which could in principle be replaced by other specimens of the type (Schutz 1962:8-10).

These ways of understanding my environment are generally so natural and familiar to me that I never pause to reflect on them. As Schutz often puts it, I take them for granted, without questioning their validity, and without subjecting them to scrutiny (Schutz 1962:74). Like Husserl, Schutz calls this unquestioning and uncritical attitude to one’s environment the ‘natural attitude’ (see Husserl 1982:§27). When I am naturally attuned, the entire system of practical knowledge or ‘know-how’, to which my typifications belong, remains in the background, as it were. This is obviously connected with the practical focus of the everyday subject: we have letters to send, groceries to buy, children to take to school, and so on. These activities and the various projects of which they form part guide our interests and priorities. Our practical knowledge, including the various typifications, are tools that we employ immediately and take for granted in order to navigate in the life-world and accomplish our aims.

Our background knowledge, however, is not immune to revision. As long as my typifications help me achieve my aims and objectives, they will remain in force; but if they are repeatedly defeated, I will typically revise them. As Schutz puts it, our background knowledge is taken for granted, but only ‘until further notice’ (Schutz 1962:74; Berger & Luckmann 1966/1991:58). If, for example, I repeatedly experience that the addressees do not receive my letters, I will revise some of my assumptions concerning typical postal workers and their typical motives. On the other hand, I can only deal with such a situation by relying on other assumptions and typifications. I may file a complaint with The Royal Mail, for example, thereby tacitly assuming that certain officials will react in certain typical ways (read my complaint, rather than simply ignore it). Alternatively, I may decide that from now on I will use electronic mail only, thereby assuming typical courses of action on the part of my internet service provider, and so on. Thus, even if individual typifications are only taken for granted ‘until further notice’, it would be practically impossible to abandon them unless other typifications and assumptions at the same time remained in operation. Schutz accordingly concludes that it is within the context of a world taken for granted that I can question and doubt individual cases. The life-world itself is the undoubted ‘foundation of any possible doubt’ (Schutz 1962:74).

We perceive, experience and understand in accordance with normal and typical structures, models and patterns, which previous experiences have inscribed in our subjective lives (Schutz 1962:7-10). These structures and models prescribe what we should do in a particular situation, and they give us a sense that we can count on social reality, that it is reliable and can be comprehended, and that others experience it as we do. Obviously, intersubjectivity plays an important role in this. The stock of typical assumptions, expectations and prescriptions, which I make use of with complete naturalness, is for the most part socially derived and socially accepted.

Normality is also conventionality, which essentially transcends the individual person. My relations with others go as far back as I can remember, and my understanding is structured in accordance with the intersubjectively handed-down ways of understanding, which I have acquired through my upbringing and through learning a language (Schutz 1962:13-14; see Berger & Luckmann 1966/1991:150-153). The same goes for a wide range of my opinions and actions. As already Husserl pointed out, beside the influences of concrete individual others, there are the more indeterminate, general commands that custom and tradition issue: ‘one’ thinks this about that; ‘one’ holds a fork like this, and so on (Husserl 1989:281-282; Heidegger 1927/1962:149-168). In sum, it is from others that I learn what is normal – in particular those others that are closest to me, those who raise me and those I grow up together with and live with. I am thereby part of a common tradition that, through a chain of generations, stretches back into a distant past.

My background knowledge, implicit assumptions, expectations, and so on, are hence not primarily mine, understood as my own personal and unique constructions. On the contrary, they are social constructions. In connection with this general point, Schutz subjects knowledge to a close analysis. He focuses on three aspects of the socialization of human knowledge: its structural socialization, its genetic socialization and its social distribution (Schutz 1962:11). As for the structural aspect, Schutz emphasizes that the knowledge we have is knowledge that others could have as well, if they had access to the same facts as we have access to. Conversely, I could know what others know, if only I could view things from their perspective, with their background knowledge, etc. This is, of course, connected with the already mentioned point about the ‘reciprocity of perspectives’. Knowledge, however, also has a social genesis, in that, as mentioned, most of our knowledge has been transmitted to us through others (parents, friends and teachers, who were themselves taught by teachers, and so on). Finally, Schutz emphasizes that knowledge is socially distributed. This claim includes the obvious point that most of us know something about certain things, but very little about other things. A person can be an expert in Slavic languages and have no idea what to do if he cannot start his car. Fortunately, others (mechanics) do know how to deal with this sort of thing. And most of us have sufficient knowledge, even outside our fields of expertise, to get by in everyday life. We know how to fill up the tank and check the oil; and besides, we have some rough knowledge of how to find someone who can fill the gaps in our own stock of knowledge (Schutz 1962:14-15).

The Successors of Schutz

With Schutz’s immigration to the U.S.A. shortly before the Second World War, American social scientists were introduced to phenomenological sociology. Nevertheless, it took considerable time for Schutz’s perspective to achieve any real impact on American sociology. There are several reasons for this. First, Schutz only became a full-time professor after more than ten years in the U.S.A. Second, he was attached to the New School for Social Research in New York, which at that time was not regarded as a prestigious institution. Third, Schutz’s publications were not very successful. The English translation of his early book The Phenomenology of the Social World was only published posthumously; while he had begun a similarly comprehensive and systematic account of his ideas after immigrating to America, he was unable to complete it; and his papers were primarily published in philosophical rather than sociological journals. Finally, due primarily to misunderstandings, Schutz fell out with the influential Harvard sociologist Talcott Parsons. Despite all of this, Schutz managed, albeit with some delay, to influence the American sociological scene, and it was thus in the U.S.A. that two new phenomenological sociologies were first introduced: the sociology of knowledge and ethnomethodology.

Schutz repeatedly points out that the social distribution of knowledge is a topic that has been insufficiently studied – a topic that would deserve the title ‘sociology of knowledge’ (Schutz 1962:15, 149; 1964:121). Originally, the sociology of knowledge was a discipline that primarily addressed epistemological issues, such as how true knowledge is acquired, by which methods, etc. Its focus was on theoretical ideas and the knowledge of the ‘elite’ – i.e., the established sciences, the cultural elite, and so on. Schutz, however, emphasizes that also the mechanic and the supermarket check-out assistant have their ‘knowledge’ and that such knowledge is just as legitimate an object for a genuine sociology of knowledge as is the knowledge of the scientific and cultural elite. Besides, it is not the task of sociology as an empirical science to address general epistemological questions. Rather, in Schutz’s view, sociology should focus on the life-world as it is experienced by everyday subjects (Schutz 1962:144-145).

These ideas were taken up by Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann in The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. This influential book attempts to combine Schutz’s phenomenological outlook with the symbolic interactionism of George Herbert Mead. But Berger and Luckmann also draw upon German anthropology and figures such as Max Scheler, Helmuth Plessner and Arnold Gehlen, as well as Karl Marx, Max Weber and Émile Durkheim. Berger and Luckmann were born in Austria and Slovenia, respectively, but both immigrated to the United States, and studied with Schutz at the New School for Social Research.

Berger and Luckmann seek to apply the theoretical perspective of phenomenology to crucial notions such as identity, socialization, social roles, language, normality/abnormality, and so on. They claim that it is the task of the sociology of knowledge to analyze the societal conditions for the formation and maintenance of various types of knowledge, scientific as well as quotidian. Berger and Luckmann thus widen the focus of the sociology of knowledge beyond the question of the social distribution of knowledge that Schutz had singled out as the central problem (Berger & Luckmann 1966/1991:28). But they share Schutz’s basic intuitions. The sociology of knowledge is, briefly put, interested in how knowledge is produced, distributed, and internalized; it examines how the validity of any form of knowledge (that of the Tibetan monk no less than that of the American businesswoman or the criminologist) becomes socially established (Berger & Luckmann 1966/1991:15). But as they also stress, the sociology of knowledge must first of all concern itself with what people ‘know’ as ‘reality’ in their everyday, non- or pre-theoretical lives. In other words, common-sense ‘knowledge’ rather than ‘ideas’ must be the central focus for the sociology of knowledge. It is precisely this ‘knowledge’ that constitutes the fabric of meanings without which no society could exist (Berger & Luckmann 1966/1991:27).

This project involves a challenge to any objectivist and positivist social theory. Berger and Luckmann reject any attempt to view social reality as an objective entity, as a non-human or supra-human thing (Berger & Luckmann 1966/1991:106). As they write, the social order is a product of human activity; it is neither biologically determined, nor in any other way determined by facts of nature: ‘Social order is not part of the “nature of things”, and it cannot be derived from the “laws of nature”. Social order exists only as a product of human activity’ (Berger & Luckmann 1966/1991:70). The task of social theory is to provide an account of how human beings, through manifold forms of interaction, create and shape social structures and institutions, which may first have the character of a common, intersubjective reality, but eventually become ‘externalized’ and achieve objective reality. As also Schutz would say, this happens largely through institutionalized typifications (Berger & Luckmann 1966/1991:85- 96). Through institutionalization, human activity is subjected to social control. The constructed social structures define what is normal, and sanctions are introduced to maintain the social order and avoid digression. With time, institutions come to appear inevitable and objective. Yet:

It is important to keep in mind that the objectivity of the institutional world, however massive it may appear to the individual, is a humanly produced, constructed objectivity … The institutional world is objectivated human activity, and so is every single institution … The paradox that man is capable of producing a world that he then experiences as something other than a human product will concern us later on. At the moment, it is important to emphasize that the relationship between man, the producer, and the social world, his product, is and remains a dialectical one. That is, man (not, of course, in isolation but in his collectivities) and his social world interact with each other. The product acts back upon the producer (Berger & Luckmann 1966/1991:78).

Social reality is thus not only an externalized and objectified human product; it acts back upon human beings. Not only in the sense that we may feel it as an oppressive external force that we cannot resist, but also in the sense that social reality is something individual human beings ‘internalize’. We are not raised outside society, but grow up in it. And as we grow up and mature, we take over from others (and make our own) a language, roles, attitudes and norms (see Berger & Luckmann 1966/1991:149-157). Human society, Berger and Luckmann emphasize, must therefore be ‘understood in terms of an ongoing dialectic of the three moments of externalization, objectivation and internalization’ (Berger & Luckmann 1966/1991:149).

The Social Construction of Reality became very popular in the late 1960s and in the 1970s, and was the book that made Schutz’s ideas accessible to a wider audience. Another brand of American sociology that received crucial impulses from Schutz was the ethnomethodology introduced by Harold Garfinkel in the early 1960s. Garfinkel was influenced by Husserl, Merleau-Ponty and Heidegger, but his main inspiration came from Schutz, Aaron Gurwitsch and Talcott Parsons. Unlike Berger and Luckmann, Garfinkel was never a student of Schutz; but Garfinkel’s approach to sociology nevertheless betrays an important Schutzean inspiration. While Schutz remained a social theorist, however, Garfinkel applied phenomenological ideas in carrying out actual empirical research.

Briefly put, the task of ethnomethodology is to examine how social agents structure their social environment in a meaningful way. Like Schutz, the ethnomethodologist seeks to view things from participants’ perspectives and attempts to understand how their life-form can be viewed as a result of their interaction with each other. The point is not to establish whether a given life-form is ‘true’ or ‘false’, but rather to determine how agents have formed the interpretations and opinions that they hold. Ethnomethodology regards social structures (roles, institutions and systems of cultural meaning and value) as products of social interaction, rather than as pre-existing and determining factors. Social reality is thus conceived of as a fragile and vulnerable construction. It is a construction that is actively maintained by the participants.

According to Garfinkel, we are all busy constructing a world in which we feel at home. As also emphasized by Schutz, this happens in part via a process of typification. We make use of various routines and maxims in coping with social reality. These routines and maxims are gradually internalized and thereby recede from our view. In this way, the preconditions for our production of social meaning and order become inaccessible to us. Our understanding can never be made completely explicit and will always involve a horizon of background assumptions. But ethnomethodology has developed special techniques to reveal the practices that people engage in when establishing a social order. One such technique involves creating situations in which our normal background assumptions are undermined and thereby made explicit. In one experiment, Garfinkel thus asked his students to act like guests in their own homes and record the reactions of their family members. These reactions varied from confusion to anger, and thus, according to Garfinkel, illustrated the fragility of the social order: an order that we ourselves help to produce, but which we nevertheless tend to take for granted (Garfinkel 1967:42-43).

A famous empirical study informed by phenomenological ideas is Aaron V. Cicourel’s study of the treatment of juvenile delinquents in two Californian cities. According to Cicourel, the process of classifying a young person as a delinquent crucially involves certain background assumptions on the part of police officers, probation officers, court officials, and others. The police may, for example, have a tendency to pick out likely candidates on the basis of an implicit picture of the ‘typical delinquent’. The picture includes such factors as family background, school performance and ethnicity. By applying such ‘typifications’, police officers and others involved make sense of the cases they are faced with (Cicourel 1976). A similar approach is adopted in J. Maxwell Atkinson’s work on suicide statistics (Atkinson 1978). Atkinson found that coroners often rely on ‘common-sense theories’ about suicide and its causes when determining whether a particular death should be classified as a suicide or an accidental death – theories that to a remarkable extent converge with the typical picture of suicide propagated by news media. For coroners as well as for other agents, Atkinson suggests, such theorizing ‘provid[es] for the social organization of sudden deaths by rendering otherwise disordered and potentially senseless events ordered and sensible’ (Atkinson 1978:173).

Phenomenology and ethnomethodology have often criticized sociologies that attempt to analyze social reality in terms of various pre-defined categories, such as gender, class struggles, and the like. The claim is that such a procedure theorizes about the world instead of describing it. This critique suggests the phenomenological point that sociology must return to ‘the things themselves’, to the ‘phenomena’. Rather than moulding the social world to fit various predefined theoretical categories, we ought to examine how people themselves experience their social reality. For ethnomethodology, the main sociological task is thus to understand how social agents themselves cope with the task of describing and explaining the order of the reality in which they live.

Criticism of Phenomenological Sociology

Let us briefly consider some of the criticisms that phenomenological sociology has been met with. Nick Crossley (1996:95-98) lists a number of allegedly problematic features of Schutz’ work, one of which merits consideration here. According to Crossley, ‘Schutz tends to stick to the sorts of relationship which an individual takes to other individuals or groups at the expense of a consideration of relationships, practices and processes viewed from the trans- individual position of the systems which they form’ (Crossley 1996:98). In other words, Schutz seems to adopt an ‘individualist’ perspective and thereby loses sight of the way ‘the community itself functions as a system, perpetuating itself through space and time’ (Crossley 1996:98).

A phenomenological reply to this criticism consists of two parts. First, one should not think that Schutz’s shortcomings are necessarily the shortcomings of the phenomenological perspective as such. Thus, even if it is correct that Schutz failed to consider the community as a system that perpetuates itself through space and time, this need not be because of his commitment to phenomenology. In fact, Berger and Luckmann, in part two of The Social Construction of Reality, give detailed consideration to how society perpetuates itself as an impersonal, ‘trans-individual’ system.

That said, however, Crossley does have a point. As readers of the present chapter may have noticed, some sort of emphasis on the individual person or subject is found in all the phenomenological thinkers we have considered – from Husserl, through Schutz, to Berger and Luckmann and Garfinkel. The phenomenologists, however, would insist that this is ultimately no ground for criticism. A society cannot be reduced to the sum of its individual members; but on the other hand, the phenomenologists maintain that there is no society without individual subjects. To speak of a ‘social system’ in the absence of a robust notion of individual subjects makes little sense; for in what sense would the system in question be social? What could make it social except the fact that it involves (which is not the same as: ‘can be reduced to’) individual subjects standing in various relations to each other? A community of no one is hardly a community. An impersonal ‘system’ will never yield a society. For that, we need the interpersonal – and without the personal, there is no interpersonal (see Overgaard 2007, esp. chapter 5).

As another general criticism of phenomenology, one might maintain that its strengths could easily become its weaknesses. The phenomenological rehabilitation of the life-world, and the insistence on the importance of the everyday human being and its ‘common-sense’ knowledge, may seem to verge on celebrating the ordinary or mediocre. For example, the idea that common-sense knowledge is as legitimate a sociological theme as is scientific knowledge may seem to imply that these two kinds of knowledge are equally valuable. But, if so, the phenomenological perspective would implicitly legitimize intellectual laziness. Other critics have claimed that phenomenological sociology is conservative, that it implies a defence of the status quo – even when status quo is an unjust social order. Finally, the phenomenological emphasis on subjectivity as active and creative must not lead to blindness regarding the manifold ways in which individuals can be subjected to, and controlled by, institutions or other individuals.

However, phenomenology has largely pre-empted these criticisms. The notion that the phenomenological sociologist must primarily examine the everyday person, and that she must take seriously this person’s ‘knowledge’ and perspective, is fully compatible with maintaining a critical distance. Schutz himself stresses that the sociologist must be an observer of, rather than a participant in, the social phenomena she examines. And he emphasizes the fact that our common-sense knowledge is limited and incomplete. A phenomenologist such as Heidegger couples an examination of the everyday human being and its ‘average’ understanding with a rather critical perspective on this everyday understanding (allegedly superficial and with a tendency to rely on hearsay) (Heidegger 1927/1962:210-219). Indeed, he emphasizes that the everyday subject may be blinded by habit and convention (Heidegger 1927/1962:149-168). Thus, a phenomenological examination of the everyday subject need not glorify or idealize it. Similarly, a descriptive analysis of social reality as it is need not legitimize it. On the contrary, a sober description is an important element in any rational deliberation on what, precisely, ought to be changed about the status quo.

Ultimately, however, the phenomenologists would insist that it is not an option to devaluate entirely – let alone reject – our ordinary everyday knowledge. For even scientists and political revolutionaries must rely on this knowledge in the greater part of their lives. Moreover, in spite of its many imperfections and limitations, this knowledge is usually adequate enough for practical purposes. Nor, as already mentioned, is it an option to ignore completely the individual subject or to insist that it is nothing but a plaything in the hands of society. As individual subjects we are not merely subjected to the social reality in which we live; we also take part in its creation and maintenance. And for that very reason it is possible for us to change it. As Berger and Luckmann write: ‘However objectivated, the social world was made by men – and, therefore, can be remade by them’ (Berger & Luckmann 1966/1991:106).


Let us briefly recapitulate some of the crucial features of phenomenological everyday life sociology. First, all phenomenologists share an insistence on description and a resistance toward theoretical speculation. A second important feature of phenomenological sociology is its emphasis on the need to take everyday life seriously. The ‘naturally attuned’, practically oriented common-sense person and her experienced life-world is the primary object of sociology. Thirdly, phenomenology maintains that an examination of sociality and social reality has to take subjectivity into account. Human subjectivity is not merely moulded and determined by social forces. In interaction with others, subjectivity also shapes social reality.

Phenomenological sociologists have consistently issued warnings against the tendency to substantialize and reify social matters and they have offered a corrective to traditional positivistic research methodologies. Societal reality, including institutions, organizations, ethnic groupings, classes, and so on, must be regarded as a product of human activity. The sociological task is to understand the workings of this productive or constitutive process. No account of everyday social life can be complete if it does not take into account the contribution of individual subjectivities. This is the fundamental message of phenomenological sociology.

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Networks, Narratives, and Interaction

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Key Sources of Research

Manifesto for a Relational Sociology

Mustafa Emirbayer

New School for Social Research

The Sociology of the Self

Author(s): Peter L. Callero
Source: Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 29 (2003), pp. 115-133

Phenomenology (sociology)


Interpretivism, social constructionism and phenomenology

The Meaning of Meaning in Sociology. The Achievements and Shortcomings of Alfred Schutz’s Phenomenological Sociology


First published: 04 March 2011

Volume41, Issue3 September 2011 Pages 231-246

Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 41:3 0021-8308

Theories of Meaning

Beyond Husserl and Schütz. Hermann Schmitz and Neophenomenological Sociology

Robert Gugutzer

DOI: 10.1111/jtsb.12240

“Meaning” as a sociological concept:
A review of the modeling, mapping, and simulation of the communication of knowledge and meaning

Loet Leydesdorff
Amsterdam School of Communications Research (ASCoR), University of Amsterdam Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands;;

Click to access meaning.pdf

Chapter 3

Phenomenological Sociology – The Subjectivity of Everyday Life

Søren Overgaard & Dan Zahavi

Beyond Empathy Phenomenological Approaches to Intersubjectivity

Dan Zahavi

The Concept of Meaning in Sociology

  • February 2016


Norbert Wiley

What is sociology?

  • August 2014


  • Conference: Induction for sociology beginners
  • At: Lagos, Nigeria

Flourish Itulua-Abumere

Alfred Schutz

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Phenomenological Life-World Analysis and Ethnomethodology’s Program

Thomas S. Eberle

Hum Stud (2012) 35:279–304 DOI 10.1007/s10746-012-9219-z

Click to access 10746_2012_Article_9219.pdf

Phenomenological Sociology Reconsidered 

On The New Orleans Sniper

Thomas S. Eberle

Hum Stud (2013) 36:121–132 DOI 10.1007/s10746-013-9261-5

Phenomenology and the Social Sciences: a story with no beginning

Carlos Belvedere􏰀

Sociedad (B. Aires) vol.2 Buenos Aires 2007

Click to access scs_a01.pdf

The phenomenology of Alfred Schutz

Maurice Natanson Pages 147-155 | Published online: 29 Aug 2008

An Interdisciplinary Journal of PhilosophyVolume 9, 1966 – Issue 1-4



Thomas S. Eberle

in Book Interactions in Everyday Life

What is Phenomenological Sociology Again?


Greg Bird

Sociology and Phenomenology


Jochen Dreher

Hermílio Santos

George Psathas

Emeritus Professor of Sociology

George Psathas

Phenomenology and Symbolic Interactionism

Phenomenology and Symbolic Interactionism

Key Terms

  • Phenomenology
  • Symbolic Interactionism
  • Interactionism
  • Interpretivism
  • Ethnomethodology
  • Hermenutics
  • Phenomenology Sociology
  • Individual and Collective
  • Intersubjectivity
  • Meaning making
  • Interiority
  • Hermeneutic-phenomenological tradition
  • Transcendental Phenomenology
  • Subjectivity

What is Sociology?

Social Theories


Source: Phenomenological Sociology – The Subjectivity of Everyday Life

The Phenomenological Movement

The movement of phenomenology is more than a century old. In fact, the inauguration of the movement can be dated precisely to 1900-1901, the years in which the two parts of Edmund Husserl’s (1859-1938) Logical Investigations were published. Husserl was originally a mathematician, whose interests in the foundational problems of mathematics led him to logic and philosophy. Despite the title, the Logical Investigations does not merely address logical problems narrowly conceived. Rather, Husserl advanced what he believed is the right approach to philosophical problems in general: instead of resorting to armchair theorizing and speculation, we must consult the ‘the things themselves’, or that which ‘manifests itself’ or ‘gives itself’ (Greek: phainomenon). On this basis, Husserl claimed that the traditional notion of the mind as an inner, self-contained realm is misguided. Rather, the mind is in various ways directed upon objects external to it. Influenced by the Austrian psychologist and philosopher Franz Brentano (1838-1917), Husserl labels this object-directedness ‘intentionality’. To watch a soccer game, to want a new bicycle, and to recall last year’s summer holidays, are examples of different experiences which have the character of ‘intentionality’, of being directed at an ‘object’ (the soccer game, a new bicycle, and last year’s holidays, respectively).

The Logical Investigations made Husserl widely known, and contributed to the formation of phenomenological schools in Göttingen, where Husserl himself taught from 1901, and Munich, where, among others, Max Scheler (1874-1928) advocated a phenomenological approach. However, in his second magnum opus, entitled Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy I, Husserl pushed his phenomenology in a direction that many other phenomenologists considered problematic. The Logical Investigations had emphasized a purely descriptive approach, and Husserl had remained neutral on the question concerning the ontological status of the mind (or consciousness) and its objects. Many phenomenologists in Göttingen and Munich had consequently regarded the Logical Investigations as fully compatible with their own realist views. In this context, ‘realism’ is the view that the nature and existence of reality is completely independent of the mind. In the Ideas, however, Husserl argued that the world is ‘constituted’ by consciousness or ‘transcendental subjectivity’. Although Husserl denied that transcendental subjectivity ‘creates’ the world in any conventional sense, his new position did imply that the world cannot be conceived of as completely independent of a world-cognizing subject. This ‘idealism’ was unacceptable to many of the original adherents of the phenomenological movement. Yet, even though Husserl, in later works such as Cartesian Meditations and The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, increasingly emphasized that transcendental subjectivity must be embodied and embedded in a community of subjects, he never abandoned the ‘transcendental phenomenology’ introduced in the Ideas.

After Husserl became professor of philosophy in Freiburg in 1916, the phenomenological movement became increasingly influential outside the old phenomenological strongholds. In Freiburg, Husserl became acquainted with the young philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889- 1976), who soon convinced Husserl of his great potential. When Husserl retired in 1928, he appointed Heidegger as his successor. By then, Heidegger was already something of a celebrity in philosophical environments across Germany, in particular on account of his unorthodox but enormously popular lectures. Heidegger’s early masterpiece Being and Time (1927/1962) is undoubtedly an important phenomenological work; but it is controversial to what extent Heidegger remains faithful to Husserl’s program (see Overgaard 2004). Being and Time revolves around an extremely complex problematic that Heidegger labels ‘the question of the meaning of Being’. Central to this question is an analysis of the peculiar mode or manner of Being that characterizes the human being (or Dasein, as Heidegger prefers to say). In continuation of Husserl’s analyses of intentionality, Heidegger claims that the human being cannot be understood independently of the world in which it is experientially and practically engaged. As he puts it, the Being of Dasein is ‘Being-in-the-world’. Heidegger is particularly concerned to emphasize the practical involvement of humans in their environment. A human being is not primarily a spectator on its environing world, but an agent in it; and the world is not a collection of neutral objects or things, but more like a web of functional relations between practical ‘tools’ or ‘equipment’.

It is in the space between Husserl and Heidegger that one must locate the main inspiration for the later French phenomenologists. Emmanuel Lévinas (1906-1995) studied philosophy in Freiburg when Heidegger succeeded Husserl. Even though the ostensible topic of Lévinas’s dissertation The Theory of Intuition in Husserl’s Phenomenology, published in 1930, was Husserl’s thought, Heidegger’s influence is pronounced. Moreover, Husserl and Heidegger remain essential interlocutors in Lévinas’s later works, such as Totality and Infinity (1969) and Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence (1974), in which he attempts to develop an independent phenomenological ethics centring on the notion of respect for the other human being. Jean-Paul Sartre’s (1906-1980) phenomenological magnum opus Being and Nothingness, published in 1943, draws upon Husserl, Heidegger, and Hegel, in an attempt to articulate a radical distinction between consciousness, which Sartre labels ‘Being-for-itself’, and all types of objective being, which he collects under the heading ‘Being-in-itself’ (Sartre 1943/1956). Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s (1908-1961) phenomenology of body and perception, elaborated in the 1945 masterpiece Phenomenology of Perception, is to some extent a continuation of Husserl’s later works. But Heidegger’s influence is also tangible, not least in Merleau-Ponty’s contention that the phenomenon of human embodiment is an aspect of the structure that Heidegger calls ‘Being-in-the-world’ (Merleau-Ponty 1945/1962).

The influence of phenomenology, however, extends beyond philosophy. Philosophical phenomenology offers general ideas of relevance to the social sciences (anthropology, economy, law, political science, and so on). But in addition to this, there are phenomenological traditions in psychology and psychiatry, and, more relevant in the present context, there is a distinct phenomenological approach to sociology, which was developed by Alfred Schutz (1899-1959) and his students. Schutz’s main inspiration was drawn from Husserl’s later thoughts on intersubjectivity and the life-world.

Phenomenology and Intersubjectivity

It is sometimes claimed that phenomenology has nothing valuable to offer sociology. Jürgen Habermas, for example, accuses Husserl’s philosophy – and by extension phenomenology as such (Habermas 1992:42) – of being solipsistic, that is, of being able to conceive of the existence of only one single subject (solusipse is Latin for ‘only I’). Thereby, Habermas obviously questions the relevance of phenomenology for social thought in general.

However, there is reason to regard Habermas’ claim with a good deal of scepticism. For the criticism seems based on a misunderstanding of the phenomenological perspective on sociality. Instead of viewing the individual and society – or subjectivity and sociality – as mutually exclusive options, phenomenology explicitly attempts to combine them. Husserl’s claim that a subject can only be a world-experiencing subjectivity insofar as it is member of a community of subjects (Husserl 1995:139) suggests a key phenomenological claim: the individual subject qua world-experiencing is dependent on other world-experiencing subjects. But on the other hand, one should not downplay the role of the individual subject. Phenomenology insists on understanding sociality in its most fundamental form as intersubjectivity (see Zahavi 2001a). It only makes sense to speak of intersubjectivity if there is a (possible) plurality of subjects, and intersubjectivity can therefore neither precede nor be the foundation of the individuality and distinctness of the various subjects. Thus, one cannot invoke the notion of intersubjectivity without committing oneself to some form of philosophy of subjectivity. Yet, on the other hand, Husserl maintains that a sufficiently radical and thorough phenomenological reflection not only leads us to subjectivity, but also to intersubjectivity (Husserl 1962:344). Accordingly, he sometimes refers to his project as that of sociological transcendental philosophy (Husserl 1962:539), and states that a full elaboration of transcendental philosophy necessarily involves the move from an egological to a transcendental-sociological phenomenology (see Zahavi 1996, 2001b).

The Life-World

As part of their ongoing concern with the relation between science and experience, phenomenologists have often emphasized the importance of the ‘life-world’. The life-world is the world we ordinarily take for granted, the pre-scientific, experientially given world that we are familiar with and never call into question. The life-world needs rehabilitating because, although it is the historical and systematic sense-foundation for science, the latter has forgotten or ignored the life-world. Even the most exact and abstract scientific theories rely on the type of pre-scientific evidence that the life-world offers. And life-worldly evidence does not merely function as an indispensable but otherwise irrelevant station that we must pass through on the way toward exact knowledge; rather, it is a permanent source of meaning and evidence (Husserl 1970:126). In pursuit of exact knowledge, science has made a virtue of its radical transcendence of bodily, sensory, and practical experience, but thereby it has overlooked the extent to which it is made possible by those kinds of experience. When experiments are designed and conducted, when measurements are noted down, when results are interpreted, compared and discussed, scientists rely on the common life-world and its common kinds of evidence. Even though scientific theories transcend the concrete, perceptible life-world in terms of precision and degree of abstraction, the life-world remains the meaningful foundation and ultimate source of evidence (Husserl 1970:126). However, the relation between science and the life-world is not static but dynamic. Science is founded on the life-world, and bit-by-bit it may, as it were, sink into the ground on which it stands. With the passing of time, theoretical assumptions and results may be absorbed by everyday practice and become part of the life-world.

When phenomenologists emphasize the significance of the life-world it is not at the expense of science. Phenomenologists have no desire to deny the immense value of science, and they agree that science has the potential to profoundly expand and alter our conception of reality. They do reject, however, the tendency within the natural sciences to advocate scientism and objectivism. A critical attitude towards the scientist self-image of science is one thing, and hostility toward science as such is a very different thing. Phenomenology has none of the latter. It is no coincidence that a famous manifesto of Husserl’s was entitled Philosophy as a Strict Science.

According to scientism, it is natural science alone that decides what is real; reality is thus identical with what can be conceived and explained by natural science. Historically, reflections of this kind led to the claim that only the form, size, weight and movement of an object – that is, those characteristics that, in principle, could be described quantitatively with mathematical exactness – were objective properties. On this view, colour, taste, smell, and so on, were considered merely subjective phenomena that lacked real, objective existence. In the course of centuries, this classical distinction between primary (or objective) qualities and secondary (or subjective) qualities has consistently been radicalized. Ultimately, it was not merely the objectivity of certain characteristics of the appearing object that was questioned, but rather the objectivity of anything that appears. The appearance or manifestation as such was regarded as subjective, and it was this appearance, this phenomenal manifestation as such, which science, according to its understanding of itself, had to reach beyond in order to achieve knowledge of the real nature of things. A consequence of this view is that the world in which we live is very different from the world that the exact sciences describe, the latter having an exclusive claim to reality. The life-world, by contrast, is a mere construction, a result of our response to the stimuli we receive from physical reality.

Phenomenology, however, rejects the idea that natural science is the sole judge of what is real and what is not, and that all concepts that we wish to take seriously must be reducible to concepts of the exact sciences. According to phenomenology, the exact sciences do not describe a world that is different from the ordinary world. Rather, they simply employ new methods to describe and explain the world we already know and thereby enable us to obtain more precise knowledge about it. The scientific ambition of describing reality objectively – that is, from a third-person point of view – is a thoroughly legitimate one. Yet, one should not forget that any objectivity, any explanation, understanding and theoretical construct, presupposes a first-person perspective as its permanent ground and precondition. To that extent the belief that science can provide an absolute description of reality – a description purged of any conceptual or experiential perspective – is an illusion. Science is rooted in the life-world: it draws upon insights from the pre-scientific sphere and it is conducted by embodied subjects. For the phenomenologists, science is not simply a collection of systematically related, well- established propositions. Rather, science is something that people do; it is a particular – markedly theoretical – way of relating to the world.

Phenomenology does not attempt to explain human nature through science. Rather, it aims to make sense of scientific rationality and practice through detailed analyses of the cognizing subject’s various forms of intentional experience. A central task is thus to give an account of how the theoretical attitude that we adopt when we are doing science – including sociology – arises out of, as well as influences and changes, our everyday ‘Being-in-the- world’. The phenomenological examination of the life-world obviously constitutes an important part of this project. Husserl himself articulated the basic ideas for such an analysis, and other phenomenologists such as Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, made important contributions. All of these thinkers, however, considered the analysis of the life-world a mere part of a larger philosophical project. A more independent interest in the phenomenology of the life-world – in particular its social structure – is found, above all, in Alfred Schutz and his successors within phenomenological sociology.

Phenomenology and Ethnomethodology

Martin Heidegger


The word hermeneutics is derived from ancient Greece (Hermes, the messenger). The origin of hermeneutics was in the interpretation of ancient texts, originally scriptural (exegis) and later the study of ancient and classic cultures. From medieval times hermeneutics included the study of law and the interpretation of judgements in the context of when and where the judgement was made with an attempt to take into account social and cultural mores of the times. In contemporary management research, marketing academics in particular are comfortable with hermeneutic phenomenology as a research methodology and the term is used for qualitative studies in which interviews with one or a few people are analyzed and interpreted.

Philosophers whose inspiration is more ontological, such as Heidegger, emphasize the uncovering of Being from the perspective of the experiencing human being, and how the world is revealed to this experiencing entity within a realm of things whereas the pragmatist school as epitomized by Mead concentrate on the development of the self and the objectivity of the world within the social realm, “the individual mind can exist only in relation to other minds with shared meanings” (Mead, 1934 p 5).

Heidegger’s philosophical hermeneutics shifted the focus from interpretation to existential understanding, which was treated more as a direct, non-mediated, way of being in the world than simply as a way of knowing (Heidegger, 1927). For example, Heidegger called for a “special hermeneutic of empathy” to dissolve the classic philosophic issue of “other minds” by putting the issue in the context of the being-with of human relatedness. Heidegger used the word texts to cover written and spoken expression and suggested it is a tautology that the written or spoken word cannot be studied using positivistic numerical methods. In the 21st century ‘‘texts’’ has expanded to include all forms of multi-media including the people who produce them. As texts are expressions of the experience of the author, in the Heidegger tradition interpretation of a text will reveal something about the social context in which it was formed, and more significantly, provide the reader with a means to share the experiences of the author. The reciprocity between text and context is part of what Heidegger called the hermeneutic circle (Weber, 1920; Heidegger 1927; Agosta, 2010). Gadamer, a celebrated student of Heidegger, goes further to assert that methodical contemplation and reflection is the opposite of experience on its own and that truth comes from understanding and mastering our experience. Gadamer claims experience is not static but is always changing with hints of further changes. He sees the growth of individual comprehension as being important. With continued improved, and hopefully enlightened, comprehension prejudice is a non fixed reflection of our growing comprehension. There are obvious examples of changes in prejudice over the last 50 years (e.g. legalisation of same sex marriages). Gadamer sees that being alien to a particular tradition is a condition of understanding and he further asserts that we can never step outside of our tradition; all we can do is try to understand it. This further elaborates the continuous nature of the hermeneutic circle (Gadamer 1960; Agosta, 2010)

Heidegger’’s hermeneutics is not just a matter of understanding linguistic communication. Nor is it about providing a methodological basis for research. As far as Heidegger is concerned, hermeneutics is ontology; it is about the most fundamental conditions of man’s being in the world. The hermeneutics of ““facticity””, as he called it, is primarily what philosophy is all about (Heidegger, 1927).

This reflects back on Heidegger’s definition of terms such as understanding, interpretation, and assertion. Understanding, in Heidegger’s account, is neither a method of reading nor the outcome of a carefully conducted procedure of critical reflection. It is not something we consciously do or fail to do, but something we are. Understanding is a mode of being, and as such it is characteristic of human being, of Dasein. We have a pragmatic basic intuitive understanding of the world as we see it. This understanding of our life world is limited by the manner in which we, without consciously thinking and without theoretical considerations, orient ourselves in the world. Heidegger argues, we do not understand the world by gathering a collection of neutral facts by which we may reach a set of universal propositions, laws, or judgments that, to a greater or lesser extent, corresponds to the world as it is, ergo life world is only our conception of the world. Through the synthesizing activity of understanding, the world is disclosed as a totality of meaning, a space in which Dasein is at home. Dasein is distinguished by its self-interpretatory endeavors. Dasein is a being whose being is the issue. Fundamentally Dasein is embedded in the world and therefore it is not possible to understand ourselves or others without knowing the world, and the world cannot be understood if Dasein is ignored (Heidegger 1927, Gadamer 1960, Agosta 2010).

Phenomenology of the Social

  • Phenomenology – Hermenutics
  • Phenomenological Sociology
  • Mundane Phenomenology
  • Intersubjectivity
  • Phenomenology + Symbolic Interactionism
  • First Person + Second Person
  • Life world
  • I and We
  • I and Me
  • Being in the World

Symbolic interactionism

  • George Herbert Mead / University of Chicago
  • Charles Cooley
  • Herbert Blumer /Chicago School
  • Two other important schools of thought are those of the ‘Iowa school’ and the ‘Indiana School’, represented by Manford Kuhn and Sheldon Stryker respectively. Both of them gave alternative methodologies to what had been proposed by Blumer. They were more inclined to go for positivist, quantitative methods. 

Source: Symbolic Interactionism in Sociology of Education Textbooks in Mainland China: Coverage, Perspective and Implications

2. A Historical Review on Symbolic Interactionism

Symbolic interactionism is arguably one of the primary theoretical traditions in the discipline of sociology (Collins, 1994). According to the interactionists, the fundamention of symbolic interactionism is the manner in which the individual is connected to the social structure and the possible interplay between the individual and others. The interactionist perspective maintains that human beings engage in social action on the basis of meanings acquired from social sources, including their own experience. These meanings are both learned from others and to some extent shaped or reshaped by those using the symbols. As humans learn and use symbols and develop meanings for objects in their social contexts, they develop a “mind” that is both reflecting and relexive. Mind is not a structure but a process that emerges from humans’ efforts to adjust to their environment (Turner,2004:345). Sociologists who identify themselves as interactionist would agree that the central figure in this tradition is George Herbert Mead (1863-1931), who made the great breakthrough in understanding the basic properties of human social interaction. A crucial concept of Mead is the self. The self and the mind are dialectically related to one another, neither can exist without the other. Thus, one cannot take oneself as an object (think about oneself) without a mind, and one cannot have a mind, have a conversation with oneself, without a self (Ritzer, 2004:56). Basic to the self is reflexivity, or the ability to put ourselves in others’ places, humans are both actors and reactors and the human sense of “self” is a product and process, as the self is simultaneously shaped by the larger society.

In addition to providing discussions of many elements about the relationship between the society and the individual, Mead articulates the origins and actions of the self. He argues that the self is comprised of two componets which allow for both dialectical and reflexive processes. According to Mead (2005), the part of the self that takes the attitudes of others is termed the “me”. However, we can never predict exactly how their responses may play out. We have a general feel for the way in which interactions take place. Yet, it remains possible for someone to react in an unexpected manner.

This reaction to a stimuli arising during interaction is the “I” and is made possible because of the “me” (Taylor, 1997). As Ritzer’s (2004:59) statement, “we are never totally aware of the I, with the result that we sometimes surprise ourselves with our actions.”

Given Mead’s dichotomous approach to the architecture of the self, it is not surprising that two rather distinct views of symbolic interactionism have developed over the past decades: one emphasizes aspects and consequences of the “I”, the other emphasizes aspects and consequences of the “me”. These two views of symbolic interactionism are often referred to, respectively, as the Chiago school and the Iowa school of symbolic interaction theory.

2.1 The Chicago School

The central figure and major exponent of Chicago school is Herbert Blumer(1900-1987), who coined the label “symbolic interaction”. According to Collins, in Blumer’s hands, symbolic interactionism turned into a full-fledged dynamic sociology (Yu, 2002:159).

In his writings, Blumer championed a position and a methodology that emphasized the processes associated with the Meadian “I” (Blumer, 1969). In his view, Mead’s picture of the human being as an actor differs radically from the conception of man that dominates current psychological and social science. Mead simply meant that the human being is an object to himself. The human being may perceive himself, have conceptions of himself, communicate with himself, and act toward himself (Blumer, 1966). Meanwhile, such self-interaction takes the form of making indications to himself and meeting these indications by making further indications.

As mentioned, Blumer and his followers pay special attention to how humans interpret and define actions of their own and others. The focus of Chicago school interaction theory is on the reflecting, creative, acting self, which is constantly apprehending meaning for objects in the environment while simultaneously altering those meanings in service of larger issues of the self (Blumer, 1969). For Blumer, it is not possible to study the structure of a society through the use of variables because this would imply a relationship of causation, which would be impossible since anything is capable of being instantly redefined. Therefore, fixed social variables are impossible to measure, and any attempts to explain human social behavior with such constructions are unproductive. In addition, Gusfield (2003) tackles characters of symbolic interactionism and presents his understandings which are most valuable guidelines:

Whatever SI may be to my readers, for me it was not and is not today a theory in the sense of a body of thought providing substantive generalizations or abstracted propositions about some social activity. There are no substantive predictions or explanations to which it confidently leads. In fact, … “The Methodological Position of Symbolic Interactionism”(1969), Blumer refers to SI as an choose to call it a “perspective” or a “way of seeing,” both terms central to the writings of another and major influence on me, Kenneth Burke. Four aspects of this symbolic interactionist “way of seeing” seem significant in my thinking and in my work: meaning; interaction, emergence, and situatedness; language and symbolism; and the humanistic thrust. (Gusfield, 2003)

In sum, Blumer and those who follow in his disciplinary footsteps are primarily attuned to the actions and consequences of Mead’s “I”. Throughout the development of the discipline of sociology, the Chicago school has dominated the analysis and understanding on interactionist theory by most sociologists. Yet developing parallel to this view was another version of the theory, the Iowa school which placed more emphasis on the ways in which features of the social structure influence and shape common meanings.

2.2 The Iowa School

The most influential advocate of the Iowa school of symbolic interaction is Manford Kuhn (1911-1963), who studied with Kimball Young in the Universtity of Wisconsin and was on the faculty of the University of Iowa from 1946 to 1963. Unlike other interactionists, especially Blumer, Kuhn focuses on the processes associated with Mead’s “me” and incorporates role theory (Stryker and Statham, 1985). He points out “ambiguities and contradictions” in the work of Mead while he sharply criticized other interactionists for interpreting then as “dark, inscrutable complexities too difficult to understand”(Kuhn, 1964a).

Kuhn and his students put Mead’s concept of the self at the cornerstone of their approach to understand human behavior. They saw the social object self as firmly lodged in an actor’s social group memberships and activities, and thus as stable as these memberships and activities. Furthermore, consistent with Mead, they saw the self as an object present in all social activity. They were guided by the belief that if the structure of selves could be understood, it would aid in the development of a general theory of social behavior. (Buban, 1986:27)

The Iowa school has been subjected to severe criticism from other interactionists. In particular, Kuhn was accused of grossly distorting Mead’s position by conceptualizing the self as a permanent, imprinted structure that determines behavior. This notion is exposed in the chief research tool developed by Kuhn and his colleagues, which is a pencil-and-paper measure of self-attitudes known as the Twenty Statements Test (TST) (Kuhn and McPartland, 1954).

While it is true that the employment of the TST explicitly treats the self as a structure, a perusal of Kuhn’s work reveals 15

that he was well aware of the fact that as social situations change, persons’ self attitudes also change (Kuhn, 1964b). According to this apparent contradiction, Kuhn was simply reacting to a belief that other interactionists, Blumer in particular, had distorted the concept self by conceptualizing it as overly fluid, as totally lacking any order or structure:

Some theorists … discuss self-change as if it were most volatile and evanescent; the self shifts with each new indiction one makes to himself, and these indications are the constant accompaniments of experience. (Kuhn, 1964a: 61)

Another criticism of the Iowa school is that they, in employing a pencil-and-paper measure of the self, ignored the most basic feature of human social behavior: temporal process. However, Kuhn was deeply frustrated with the general lack of advancement by symbolic interactionists toward developing a theory of social conduct. His impatience with other interactionists, especially those of the Chicago school, can be clearly observed in his classic review of the field (Kuhn, 1964a). However, for the study of interaction processes, it must be concluded that the TST research inspired by Kuhn is of virtually no value. Even though critics of the Iowa school (Meltzer et al., 1975) have made several misleading inferences regarding both Kuhn’s interpretation of Mead and Kuhn’s philosophical stance, they are quite correct in charging him with ignoring process in his research endeavors. Nevertheless, the contribution of Kuhn’s legacy must not be underestimated.

To sum up, Kuhn and those who follow in his disciplinary footsteps are primarily attuned to the actions and consequences of Mead’s “me”. Several decades later, building on the legacy of the “old” Iowa tradition, the “new” Iowa school places great emphasis on the order or structure of human interaction, which are influenced by Kuhn apparently. Also evident is Kuhn’s insistence that a theory of social life can only be built upon a solid foundation of data which has been collected in a controlled, systematic fashion.

Symboliic Interactionism

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Meta Integral Theories: Integral Theory, Critical Realism, and Complex Thought

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Aesthetics and Ethics: At the Intersection

Networks, Narratives, and Interaction

Truth, Beauty, and Goodness

The Good, the True, and the Beautiful

Human Rights and Human Development

Levels of Human Psychological Development in Integral Spiral Dynamics

The Social Significance of Drama and Narrative Arts

Systems and Organizational Cybernetics

Key Sources of Research

Symbolic Interactionism and Ethnomethodology 

Alex Dennis

University of Salford

Click to access Ethnomethodology%20and%20SI.pdf

Contemporary Social Theory: An introductory overview

Simone Pulver Associate Professor, Environmental Studies UC Santa Barbara

SESYNC Sociology Immersion January 11, 2016




Thomas S. Eberle

An introduction to phenomenological research 

Stan Lester

Stan Lester Developments, Taunton

The Phenomenology of Sociality: Discovering the “We”

De Gruyter | 2017DOI:



The Phenomenological Understanding of Social Life

Asst. Prof. Kire Sharlamanov,

International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research, Volume 4, Issue 5, May-2013 1924 ISSN 2229-5518

What is Sociology?


Phenomenology (sociology)

Interpretative Research Paradigms: Points of Difference

Nevan Wright and Erwin Losekoot
Auckland University of Technology (AUT) Auckland, New Zealand

Symbolic interaction theory

Nilgun Aksana*, Buket Kısaca, Mufit Aydına, Sumeyra Demirbuken

Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 1 (2009) 902–904

The phenomenology and development of social perspectives 

Thomas Fuchs


Click to access Unit-6.pdf

The cyberself: the self-ing project goes online, symbolic interaction in the digital age

Laura Robinson

New Media Society 2007; 9; 93 DOI: 10.1177/1461444807072216

Click to access Robinson_Cyberself.pdf

Blumer’s symbolic interactionism: Methodological implications.

Jan Spurway Marks University of Windsor


Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 6691.

Symbolic Interactionism and Ethnomethodology 

Alex Dennis

University of Salford

Symbolic Interaction, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Summer 2011), pp. 349-356

Click to access Ethnomethodology%20and%20SI.pdf

Basic Concepts of Symbolic Interactionism

John Hewitt, Self & Society, 9th Edition, Allyn & Bacon, 2002.

Click to access Basic%20Tenets%20of%20Symbolic%20Interactionsim.pdf

Symbolic Interactionism in Sociology of Education Textbooks in Mainland China: Coverage, Perspective and Implications

Xuan Dong
College of Education Administration, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China Tel: 86-10-5880-1300 E-mail:

Symbolic Interactionism 

Mark V. Redmond

Iowa State University,

English Technical Reports and White Papers. 4.

Symbolic interactionism

Introducing Social Psychology and Symbolic Interactionism

George Herbert Mead

Phenomenological Sociology – The Subjectivity of Everyday Life

Søren Overgaard & Dan Zahavi

George Herbert Mead (1863—1931)

George Herbert Mead

George Herbert Mead

Networks, Narratives, and Interaction

Networks, Narratives, and Interaction

Bruner (1973: xi) described this duality as follows:“our knowledge of the world is not merely a mirroring or reflection of order and structure ‘out there,’ but consists rather of a construct or model that can, so to speak, be spun a bit ahead of things to predict how the world will be or might be”

Key Terms

  • Narratives
  • Culture
  • Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Meaning
  • Meaning making
  • Networks
  • Boundaries
  • Folk Culture
  • Communication
  • Sensemaking
  • Active Learning
  • Karl Weick
  • Dirk Baecker
  • Jerome Bruner
  • Erving Goffman
  • George Spencer Brown
  • Charles Sanders Peirce
  • Social Interactions
  • Strategic Interactions
  • Cultural Psychology
  • Systems
  • Social Systems
  • Individual and Collective
  • Symbolic Interactions
  • Face Work
  • Face to Face
  • Micro Sociology
  • Drama
  • Kenneth Burke
  • Chain of Events
  • Sequence of Events
  • Time Space
  • Choices, Conflicts, Dilemmas
  • Constraints, Limits, Boundaries
  • Networks, Connections, Interaction
  • Social Simulation
  • Discrete Events
  • Scenes, Scenarios
  • Games and Dramas
  • Harmony
  • Colors, Tones
  • Interaction Rituals
  • Interaction Order
  • Ethnomethodology
  • LL and LR Quadrants in AQAL Model of Ken Wilber
  • Many Faces of Man
  • Backstage and Frontstage
  • Russell Ackoff’s Interaction Planning
  • Faces, Masks, and Rituals
  • Frame Analysis
  • Self and Others
  • Social Constructivism
  • Agent Based Modeling
  • Cellular Automata
  • Computational Sociology
  • Micro Motives and Macro Behavior
  • Conversations
  • Strategic Conversations
  • Boundaries and Distinctions
  • Networks and Boundaries

Jerome Bruner ON Narratives

Source: Chapter 1 Narrative Inquiry: From Story to Method

… Narrative as a mode of knowing 

In 1984 at an address to the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Jerome Bruner challenged the psychological community to consider the possibilities of narrative as one of two distinct and distinctive modes of thinking, namely the “paradigmatic” or logico-scientific mode and the narrative mode. For Bruner, each mode constituted a unique way of construing and constructing reality and of ordering experience. Importantly, neither of these modes was reducible to the other, as each was necessary in the development of human thought and action. Taking up these ideas in later writings, Bruner (1986) presents the narrative mode of meaning-making as one that “looks for particular conditions and is centred around the broader and more inclusive question of the meaning of experience” (p. 11), whilst the paradigmatic mode is characterised as one that is more concerned with establishing universal truth conditions.

Bruner has pursued the notion of “narrative” modes of thinking and explored the ways in which we draw on “narrative” modes of knowing as a learning process (1996a). For Bruner, we construct our understandings of the world “mainly in the form of narrative – stories, excuses, myths, reasons for doing and not doing, and so on” (2003, p. 44). In earlier writings, he points to the power and import of narrative as a meaning-making process, commenting that “our capacity to render experience in terms of narrative is not just child’s play, but an instrument for making meaning that dominates much of life in culture – from soliloquies at bedtime to the weighing of testimony in our legal system” (1990, p. 97). Importantly, Bruner suggests that our “sensitivity” to narrative constitutes a major link between our “sense of self and our sense of others in the social world around us” (1986, p. 69) and is the mode through which we “create a version of the world” with which we can live (1996a, p. 39).

Bruner’s work in the field of cognitive psychology constitutes one way in which narrative has been conceptualised within scholarship and has led to the establishment of the field of narrative psychology. It is perhaps serendipitous that Bruner’s account of the narrative mode of thinking occurred at a time of growing interest in the ways in which narrative might be drawn upon for research and inquiry purposes. As educators and scholars took up the “call of stories” (Coles, 1989) to provide alternative means to explore, interrogate, interpret, and record experience, “it helped that the messenger was Bruner, an enormously powerful scholar with unusual cross-disciplinary knowledge, stature, and impact, who ventured to articulate what narrative could mean to the social sciences at large” (Bresler, 2006, p. 23). Crucially, Bruner’s work leads us to consider narrative as more than a means of presenting meaning and to consider the role of narrative and narrative forms in “re-presenting,” in the sense of constructing meaning, both individually and collectively. For Bruner, narrative operates simultaneously in both thought and action, shaping the ways in which we conceive and respond to our worlds. In short, all cognition, whatever its nature, relies upon representation, how we lay down our knowledge in a way to represent our experience of the world . . . representation is a process of construction, as it were, rather than of mere reflection of the world (Bruner, 1996b, p. 95).

Here, a narrative might become a “template for experience” (Bruner, 2002, p. 34) that works on the mind, modelling “not only its world but the minds seeking to give it its meanings” (p. 27). This move from narrative as “story presented” to narrative as a “form of meaning-making,” indeed, a form of “mind-making,” has played an important role in the development of narrative as a method of inquiry in the social sciences.

Source: INTRODUCTION: BRUNER’S WAY/ David Bakhurst and Stuart G. Shanker

Another reason why Bruner is an ideal focus is his role in two crucial paradigm shifts in twentieth-century psychology. In the 1950s, he was an instrumental figure in the cognitive revolution, which restored to psychology the inner life of the mind after decades of arid behaviourist objectivism. Cognitive psychology prospered and, in league with other fields, evolved into ‘cognitive science’, conceived as a systematic inter- disciplinary approach to the study of mind (see Gardner, 1985). Bruner, however, gradually grew more and more dissatisfied with what cognitivism had become. In 1990, he published Acts of Meaning, in which he argued that the cognitive revolution had betrayed the impulse that had brought it into being. The revolution’s principal concern, Bruner argued, had been to return the concept of meaning to the forefront of psychological theorizing. But cognitivism had become so enamoured of computational models of the mind that it had replaced behaviourism’s impoverished view of the person with one no better: human beings as information processors. In response, Bruner argued forcefully that meaning is not a given, but something made by human beings as they negotiate the world. Meaning is a cultural, not computational, phenomenon. And since meaning is the medium of the mental, culture is constitutive of mind.

In many ways, Bruner’s objection was familiar. It had often been lamented that mainstream psychology was individualistic and scientistic, representing minds as self-contained mental atoms and ignoring the social and cultural influences upon them. In the last decade, however, this well-known critique has really been gaining momentum. Besides Bruner, both Richard Shweder (1990) and Michael Cole (1996) have sounded the call for a new ‘cultural psychology’. Assorted versions of ‘constructionist’ and ‘discursive’ psychology have appeared on the scene, joining a veritable chorus of diverse voices urging that psychology treat the mind as a sociocultural phenomenon (e.g., Edwards and Potter, 1992; Harré and Gillett, 1994; Gergen, 1999). It is particularly striking that these voices no longer come exclusively from the margins. Just as the left/right divide is collapsing in political theory, so the dichotomy between mainstream ‘individualistic/scientistic/Cartesian’ psychology and radical ‘communitarian/interpretative/post-Cartesian’ psychology has become outmoded. Cognitive scientists and philosophers of mind now commonly acknowledge that no plausible account of the mind can be indifferent to the context in which we think and act, and some significant works have appeared devoted to the cultural origins, and social realization, of human mentality (e.g., Donald, 1991). A psychologist interested in culture is no longer a counter-cultural figure.

Source: The narrative constitution of identity: A relational and network approach

From diverse sources it is possible to identify four features of a reframed narrativity particularly relevant for the social sciences:1) relationality of parts, 2) causal emplotment, 3) selective appropriation, and 4) temporality, sequence and place.43 Together, these dimensions suggest narratives are constellations of relationships (connected parts) embedded in time and space, constituted by causal emplotment. Unlike the attempt to produce meaning by placing an event in a specified category, narrativity precludes sense making of a singular isolated phenomenon. Narrativity demands that we discern the meaning of any single event only in temporal and spatial relationship to other events. Indeed, the chief characteristic of narrative is that it renders understanding only by connecting (however unstably) parts to a constructed configuration or a social network of relationships (however incoherent or unrealizable) composed of symbolic, institutional, and material practices 4.4


Narrative accounts must have at least two characteristics. They should center upon people and their intentional states: their desires, beliefs, and so on; and they should focus on how these intentional states led to certain kinds of activities. Such an account should also be or appear to be order preserving, in the sense of preserving or appearing to preserve sequence — the sequential properties of which life itself consists or is supposed to consist. Now, in the nature of things, if these points are correct, autobiographies should be about the past, should be par excellence the genre (or set of genres) composed in the past tense. So just for fun, we decided to find out whether in fact autobiographies were all in the past tense — both the spontaneous ones we had collected and a sample of literary autobiographies.

We have never found a single one where past-tense verbs constituted more than 70 percent of the verbs used. Autobiographies are, to be sure, about the past; but what of the 30 percent or more of their sentences that are not in the past tense? I’m sure it will be apparent without all these statistics that autobiography is not only about the past, but is busily about the present as well. If it is to bring the protagonist up to the present, it must deal with the present as well as the past — and not just at the end of the account, as it were. That is one part of it. But there is another part that is more interesting. Most of the “present-tense” aspect of autobiography has to do with what students of narrative structure call “evaluation” — the task of placing those sequential events in terms of a meaningful context. Narrative, whether looked at from the more formalistic perspective of William Labov (1982) or the more literary, historical one of Barbara Herrnstein-Smith (1986), necessarily comprises two features: one of them is telling what happened to a cast of human beings with a view to the order in which things happened. That part is greatly aided by the devices of flashback, flashforward, and the rest. But a narrative must also answer the question “Why”, “Why is this worth telling, what is interesting about it?” Not everything that happened is worth telling about, and it is not always clear why what one tells merits telling. We are bored and offended by such accounts as“I got up in the morning, got out of bed, dressed and tied my shoes, shaved, had breakfast, went off to the office and saw a graduate student who had an idea for a thesis…”

The “why tell” function imposes something of great (and hidden) significance on narrative. Not only must a narrative be about a sequence of events over time, structured comprehensibly in terms of cultural canonicality, it must also contain something that endows it with exceptionality. We had better pause for a moment and explore what this criterion of exceptionality means for autobiography and, incidentally, why it creates such a spate of present-tense clauses in the writing of autobiography.


The object of narrative, then, is to demystify deviations. Narrative solves no problems. It simply locates them in such a way as to make them comprehensible. It does so by invoking the play of psychological states and of actions that transpire when human beings interact with each other and relates these to what can usually be expected to happen. I think that Kenneth Burke has a good deal to say about this “play of psychological states” in narrative, and I think it would help to examine his ideas. In his The Grammar of Motives, he introduces the idea of “dramatism” (Burke 1945). Burke noted that dramatism was created by the interplay of five elements (he refers to them as the Pentad). These comprise an Actor who commits an Action toward a Goal with the use of some Instrument in a particular Scene. Dramatism is created, he argues, when elements of the Pentad are out of balance, lose their appropriate “ratio”. This creates Trouble, an emergent sixth element. He has much to say about what leads to the breakdown in the ratios between the elements of the dramatistic pentad. For example, the Actor and the Scene don’t fit. Nora, for example: what in the world is the rebellious Nora in A Doll’s House doing in this banal doctor’s household? Or Oedipus taking his mother Jocasta unknowingly to wife. The “appropriate ratios”, of course, are given by the canonical stances of folk psychology toward the human condition. Dramatism constitutes their patterned violation. In a classically oral culture, the great myths that circulate are the archetypal forms of violation, and these become increasingly “smoothed” and formalized — even frozen — over time, as we know from the classic studies of Russian folktales published by Vladimir Propp (1986). In more mobile literary cultures, of course, the range and variation in such tales and stories greatly increases, matching the greater complexity and widened opportunities that accompany literacy. Genres develop, new forms emerge, variety increase — at least at first. It may well be that with the emergence of mass cultures and the new massifying media, new constraints on this variation occur, but that is a topic that would take us beyond the scope of this essay (see Feldman, in this volume).

Erving Goffman On Interactionism

Source: Wikipedia

Goffman was influenced by Herbert BlumerÉmile DurkheimSigmund FreudEverett HughesAlfred Radcliffe-BrownTalcott ParsonsAlfred SchützGeorg Simmel and W. Lloyd Warner. Hughes was the “most influential of his teachers”, according to Tom Burns.[1][3][22] Gary Alan Fine and Philip Manning have said that Goffman never engaged in serious dialogue with other theorists,[1] but his work has influenced and been discussed by numerous contemporary sociologists, including Anthony GiddensJürgen Habermas and Pierre Bourdieu.[23]

Though Goffman is often associated with the symbolic interaction school of sociological thought, he did not see himself as a representative of it, and so Fine and Manning conclude that he “does not easily fit within a specific school of sociological thought”.[1] His ideas are also “difficult to reduce to a number of key themes”; his work can be broadly described as developing “a comparative, qualitative sociology that aimed to produce generalizations about human behavior”.[23][24]

Goffman made substantial advances in the study of face-to-face interaction, elaborated the “dramaturgical approach” to human interaction, and developed numerous concepts that have had a massive influence, particularly in the field of the micro-sociology of everyday life.[23][25] Much of his work was about the organization of everyday behavior, a concept he termed “interaction order”.[23][26][27] He contributed to the sociological concept of framing (frame analysis),[28] to game theory (the concept of strategic interaction), and to the study of interactions and linguistics.[23] With regard to the latter, he argued that the activity of speaking must be seen as a social rather than a linguistic construct.[29] From a methodological perspective, Goffman often employed qualitative approaches, specifically ethnography, most famously in his study of social aspects of mental illness, in particular the functioning of total institutions.[23] Overall, his contributions are valued as an attempt to create a theory that bridges the agency-and-structuredivide—for popularizing social constructionismsymbolic interactionconversation analysis, ethnographic studies, and the study and importance of individual interactions.[30][31] His influence extended far beyond sociology: for example, his work provided the assumptions of much current research in language and social interaction within the discipline of communication.[32]

Goffman defined “impression management” as a person’s attempts to present an acceptable image to those around them, verbally or nonverbally.[33] This definition is based on Goffman’s idea that people see themselves as others view them, so they attempt to see themselves as if they are outside looking in.[33] Goffman was also dedicated to discovering the subtle ways humans present acceptable images by concealing information that may conflict with the images for a particular situation, such as concealing tattoos when applying for a job in which tattoos would be inappropriate, or hiding a bizarre obsession such as collecting/interacting with dolls, which society may see as abnormal.

Goffman broke from George Herbert Mead and Herbert Blumer in that while he did not reject the way people perceive themselves, he was more interested in the actual physical proximity or the “interaction order” that molds the self.[33] In other words, Goffman believed that impression management can be achieved only if the audience is in sync with a person’s self-perception. If the audience disagrees with the image someone is presenting then their self-presentation is interrupted. People present images of themselves based on how society thinks they should act in a particular situation. This decision how to act is based on the concept of definition of the situation. Definitions are all predetermined and people choose how they will act by choosing the proper behavior for the situation they are in. Goffman also draws from William Thomas for this concept. Thomas believed that people are born into a particular social class and that the definitions of the situations they will encounter have already been defined for them.[33] For instance. when an individual from an upper-class background goes to a black-tie affair, the definition of the situation is that they must mind their manners and act according to their class.

In 2007 by The Times Higher Education Guide listed Goffman as the sixth most-cited author in the humanities and social sciences, behind Anthony Giddens and ahead of Habermas.[2] His popularity with the general public has been attributed to his writing style, described as “sardonic, satiric, jokey”,[31] and as “ironic and self-consciously literary”,[34] and to its being more accessible than that of most academics.[35] His style has also been influential in academia, and is credited with popularizing a less formal style in academic publications.[31] Interestingly, if he is rightly so credited, he may by this means have contributed to a remodelling of the norms of academic behaviour, particularly of communicative action, arguably liberating intellectuals from social restraints unnatural to some of them.

His students included Carol Brooks Gardner, Charles Goodwin, Marjorie Goodwin, John Lofland, Gary Marx, Harvey SacksEmanuel Schegloff, David Sudnow and Eviatar Zerubavel.[1]

Despite his influence, according to Fine and Manning there are “remarkably few scholars who are continuing his work”, nor has there been a “Goffman school”; thus his impact on social theory has been simultaneously “great and modest”.[30] Fine and Manning attribute the lack of subsequent Goffman-style research and writing to the nature of his style, which they consider very difficult to duplicate (even “mimic-proof”), and also to his subjects’ not being widely valued in the social sciences.[3][30] Of his style, Fine and Manning remark that he tends to be seen either as a scholar whose style is difficult to reproduce, and therefore daunting to those who might wish to emulate it, or as a scholar whose work was transitional, bridging the work of the Chicago school and that of contemporary sociologists, and thus of less interest to sociologists than the classics of either of those groups.[24][30] Of his subjects, Fine and Manning observe that the topic of behavior in public places is often stigmatized as trivial and unworthy of serious scholarly attention.[30]

Nonetheless, Fine and Manning note that Goffman is “the most influential American sociologist of the twentieth century”.[36] Elliott and Turner see him as “a revered figure—an outlaw theorist who came to exemplify the best of the sociological imagination”, and “perhaps the first postmodern sociological theorist”.[14]

Source: Looking back on Goffman: The excavation continues

The “descent of the ego,” then, was witnessed by both Durkheim and Goffman in terms of the mechanisms at work in modem Western society whereby the tendencies toward an unbridled egoistic individualism are continually rebuffed (Chriss, 1993). MacCannell successfully makes the case for such a Durkheim-Goffman link through a semiotic sociology which resists the temptation of explaining in solely positivistic terms why it is that in modem Western society, imbued as it is with a strong ethic of individualism, we nevertheless see persons orienting their actions toward a perceived moral universe and the accommodation of the other. Like Durkheim and many of the great students of society from Plato to Hobbes, from Kant to Parsons, Goffman was ultimately concerned with the question, how is social order possible (Berger, 1973: 356; Collins, 1980: 173)?

Burns recognizes the Durkheim-Goffman link as well, but carries the analysis even further by comparing and contrasting Durkheim’s notion of social order with Goffman’s interaction order. Durkheim’s sui generis reality was society; Goffman’s is the encounters between individuals, or the social act itself. The moral order which pervades society and sustains individual conduct constitutes a “social fact” in both Durkheim’s and Goffman’s eyes. But Burns (1992) notes also that for Durkheim this order was·seen as durable and all-sustaining, whereas for Goffman “it was fragile, impermanent, full of unexpected holes, and in constant need of repair” (p.26).

my Related Posts

Boundaries and Relational Sociology

Boundaries and Distinctions

Boundaries and Networks

Society as Communication: Social Systems Theory of Niklas Luhmann

Third and Higher Order Cybernetics

Autocatalysis, Autopoiesis and Relational Biology

Relational Turn in Economic Geography

Cybernetics, Autopoiesis, and Social Systems Theory

Truth, Beauty, and Goodness: Integral Theory of Ken Wilber

Systems and Organizational Cybernetics

A Unifying Model of Arts

Ratio Club: A Brief History of British Cyberneticians

Micro Motives, Macro Behavior: Agent Based Modeling in Economics

On Holons and Holarchy

Reflexivity, Recursion, and Self Reference

The Social Significance of Drama and Narrative Arts

Socio-Cybernetics and Constructivist Approaches

Drama Therapy: Self in Performance

Narrative Psychology: Language, Meaning, and Self

Psychology of Happiness: Value of Storytelling and Narrative Plays

Drama Theory: Choices, Conflicts and Dilemmas

Drama Theory: Acting Strategically

Key Sources of Research

The Oxford Handbook of Culture and Psychology

edited by Jaan Valsiner

Culture in Mind: Cognition, Culture, and the Problem of Meaning

By Bradd Shore

Erving Goffman on Wikipedia

On Face-Work
An Analysis of Ritual Elements in Social Interaction

Erving Goffman
Pages 213-231 | Published online: 08 Nov 2016

Chapter in Book Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face to Face Behavior

Click to access Goffman,%20Erving%20%27On%20Face-work%27.pdf

Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-To-Face Behavior

E. Goffman

Published 1967


Encounters: Two Studies in the Sociology of Interaction.

Goffman, Erving. 1961

Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill.

The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. 

Goffman, Erving. 1959. 

New York: Doubleday Anchor.

Strategic interaction.

Goffman, Erving (1969), 

Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania.

Frame analysis: An essay on the organization of experience.

Goffman, E. (1974). 

New York: Harper & Row.

Sociology. Narrative psychology: Internet and resource guide. 

Hevern, V. W. (2004, Apr). 

Retrieved [3/15/2021] from the Le Moyne College Web site:

Narrative scenarios: Toward a culturally thick notion of narrative. 

Brockmeier, J. (2012). 

In J. Valsiner (Ed.), Oxford library of psychology. The Oxford handbook of culture and psychology (p. 439–467). Oxford University Press.

Erving Goffman

Looking back on Goffman: The excavation continues

James J. Chriss 

Cleveland State University


Sociology & Criminology Faculty Publications. 98.

Beyond Goffman: Studies on Communication, Institution, and Social Interaction


Erving Goffman: Exploring,the interaction order 


Tom Burns’s Erving Goffman


Chapter 1
Narrative Inquiry: From Story to Method

Troubling Certainty

Margaret S. Barrett and Sandra L. Stauffer

In Narrative Inquiry in Music Education

DOI 10.1007/978-1-4020-9862-8  

Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009


David Bakhurst and Stuart G. Shanker

In Jerome Bruner: Language, Culture, Self

Edited by
David Bakhurst and Stuart G. Shanker

Sage Publications, 2001

Analyzing Narratives and Story-Telling

Matti Hyvärinen


The narrative constitution of identity: A relational and network approach


Universityof Michigan

TheoryandSociety23: 605-649, 1994

Cognitive–Linguistic and Constructivist Mnemonic Triggers in Teaching Based on Jerome Bruner’s Thinking

Jari Metsämuuronen1* and Pekka Räsänen2

  • 1Department of Pedagogy, NLA University College, Bergen, Norway
  • 2Niilo Mäki Institute, Jyväskylä, Finland

Front. Psychol., 12 December 2018 |

Storytelling and the Construction of Realities

Paul Stoller

Etnofoor Vol. 30, No. 2, Race-ism (2018), pp. 107-112 

The Construction of Identity in the Narratives of Romance and Comedy

Kevin Murray 

Texts of Identity In J.Shotter & K.Gergen (eds.)  London: Sage (1988)

The Construction of Identity in the Narratives of Romance and Comedy

Actual Minds, Possible Worlds

By Jerome S. BRUNER

The Narrative Construction of Reality

Jerome Bruner

Jerome Bruner Life as a Narrative

Polarising narrative and paradigmatic ways of knowing: exploring the spaces through narrative, stories and reflections of personal transition


David Cleaver University of Southern Queensland

Possibilities for Action: Narrative Understanding

Donald Polkinghorne

Fielding Graduate University

Two Modes of Thought

Jerome Bruner

Narrating the Self


Barbara Czarniawska

Acts of meaning. 

Bruner, J. (1990). 

Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Language learner stories and imagined identities

Margaret Early and Bonny Norton
Department of Language and Literacy Education, University of British Columbia

Narrative Rhetorics in Scenario Work: Sensemaking and Translation

Zhan Li
University of Southern California USA

Chapter 2
Self-making and world-making

Jerome Bruner

In Narrative and Identity

Studies in Autobiography, Self and Culture

Jens Brockmeier
University of Toronto & Freie Universität Berlin

Donal Carbaugh
University of Massachusetts at Amherst

John Benjamins Publishing Company

A Grammar of Motives

By Kenneth Burke

Essays Toward a Symbolic of Motives, 1950–1955

By Kenneth Burke


Kenneth Burke

Click to access CaricatureofCourtshipKafkaCastleKennethBurke.pdf

A Calculus of Negation in Communication

Cybernetics & Human Knowing 24, 3–4 (2017), 17–27

Posted: 23 Jan 2018

Dirk Baecker

Witten/Herdecke University

Date Written: September 1, 2017

Working the Form: George Spencer-Brown and the Mark of Distinction*

Dirk Baecker

Universität Witten/Herdecke

Shape of things to come: From the ‘laws of form’ to management in the post-growth economy

André Reichel volume 17(1): 89-118

Click to access 17-1reichel.pdf

Systems, Network, and Culture

Dirk Baecker Zeppelin University Friedrichshafen, Germany

Presented at the International Symposium “Relational Sociology: Transatlantic Impulses for the Social Sciences”, Berlin, September 25-26, 2008

Click to access baecker2.pdf

Organisations as distinction generating and processing systems: Niklas Luhmann’s contribution to organisation studies

David Seidl and Kai Helge Becker


Niklas Luhmann
TRANSLATED BY John Bednarz, Jr., with Dirk Baecker FOREWORD BY Eva M. Knodt

Introduction to Systems Theory

Niklas Luhmann

Click to access Niklas_Luhmann_Introduction_to_System_Theory.pdf

Mysteries of cognition. Review of neocybernetics and narrative by bruce clarke.

Baecker D. (2015)

Constructivist Foundations 10(2): 261–263.

The Communication of Meaning in Anticipatory Systems: A Simulation Study of the Dynamics of Intentionality in Social Interactions

Loet Leydesdorff

In: Daniel M. Dubois (Ed.) Proceedings of the 8th Intern. Conf. on Computing Anticipatory Systems CASYS’07, Liège, Belgium, 6-11 August 2007. Melville, NY: American Institute of Physics Conference Proceedings, Vol. 1051 (2008) pp. 33-49.

Why Systems?

Dirk Baecker

Universität Witten/Herdecke

Theory Culture & Society 18 (2001), pp. 59-74


In collaboration with the Liverpool University
and the Laws of Form 50th Anniversary Conference.
Alphabetum III
September 28 — December 31, 2019 West Den Haag, The Netherlands

Click to access Alphabetum_III_V8_ONLINE.pdf

Systems in Context
On the outcome of the Habermas/Luhmann

Poul Kjaer

Niklas Luhmann and Organization Studies

Edited by
David Seidl and Kai Helge Becker

Click to access 9788763003049.pdf

A Note on Max Weber’s Unfinished Theory of Economy and Society

Dirk Baecker
Witten/Herdecke University, Germany

The fractal geometry of Luhmann’s sociological theory or debugging systems theory

José Javier Blanco Rivero

CONICET/Centro de Historia Intelectual, National University of Quilmes, Roque Sáenz Peña 352, Bernal, Argentina

Technological Forecasting & Social Change 146 (2019) 31–40

Diamond Calculus of Formation of Forms

A calculus of dynamic complexions of distinctions as an interplay of worlds and distinctions

Archive-Number / Categories 3_01 / K06, K03
Publication Date 2011

Rudolf Kaehr (1942-2016)

Click to access rk_Diamond-Calculus-of-Formation-of-Forms_2011.pdf


Niklas Luhmann


Snakes all the Way Down: Varela’s Calculus for Self-Reference and the Praxis of Paradise

André Reichel*

European Center for Sustainability Research, Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen, Germany

Systems Research and Behavioral Science Syst. Res. (2011)
Published online in Wiley Online Library ( DOI: 10.1002/sres.1105

Who Conceives of Society?

Ernst von Glasersfeld

University of Massachusetts

Constructivist Foundations 2008, vol. 3, no. 2

Click to access glasersfeld.pdf

Dramaturgy (sociology)


Beyond Bourdieu:
The Interactionist Foundations of Media Practice Theory

PETER LUNT University of Leicester, UK

International Journal of Communication 14(2020), 2946–2963

Drama as Life: The Significance of Goffman’s Changing Use of the Theatrical Metaphor

Phil Manning

Sociological Theory Vol. 9, No. 1 (Spring, 1991), pp. 70-86 (17 pages) 

Published By: American Sociological Association


Simon Susen

In: H. F. Dahms & E. R. Lybeck (Eds.), Reconstructing Social Theory, History and Practice. Current Perspectives in Social Theory. (pp. 111-143). Bingley, UK: Emerald. ISBN 9781786354709

Mainstreaming Relational Sociology – Relational Analysis of Culture in Digithum

P. Baert. Published 2016

The Foundations of the Social: Between Critical Theory and Reflexive Sociology

S. Susen. Published 2007

Language, self, and social order: A reformulation of Goffman and Sacks

A. RawlsPublished 1989SociologyHuman Studies

The Interaction Order: American Sociological Association, 1982 Presidential Address

Author(s): Erving Goffman

Reviewed work(s):
Source: American Sociological Review, Vol. 48, No. 1 (Feb., 1983), pp. 1-17 Published by: American Sociological Association
Stable URL: .

Face and interaction

Michael Haugh

(2009): In Francesca Bargiela-Chiappini and Michael Haugh (eds.), Face, Communication and Social Interaction, Equinox, London, pp.1-30.

Public and private faces in web spaces – How Goffman’s work can be used to think about purchasing medicine online. 

Lisa Sugiura

Organizational Analysis: Goffman and Dramaturgy  

Peter K. Manning

The Oxford Handbook of Sociology, Social Theory, and Organization Studies: Contemporary Currents

Edited by Paul Adler, Paul du Gay, Glenn Morgan, and Mike Reed

Print Publication Date: Oct 2014

Complete bibliography: Erving Goffman ́s writings

Persson, Anders


Click to access s7769.pdf

A review of Jerome Bruner’s educational theory:

Its implications for studies in teaching and learning and active learning (secondary publication)


Faculty of Economics Nagoya Gakuin University

Click to access syakai_vol5401_11.pdf

The Use of Stories in Moral Development: New Psychological Reasons for an Old Education Method

DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.45.6.709

Narrative Understanding and Understanding Narrative

Sarah E. Worth

Contemporary Aesthetics (Journal Archive): Vol. 2 , Article 9.
Available at:

A Unifying Model of Arts

A Unifying Model of Arts

Key Terms

  • Natya Shastra of Bharata Muni
  • Poetics of Aristotle
  • Narrative Arts
  • Narrative Psychology
  • Drama Therapy
  • Social Simulation
  • Learning and Reflection
  • Normative Choices
  • Social Psychology
  • Social Mirrors
  • Psychological Mirrors
  • Self as Other
  • Other as Self
  • Coordination Arts
  • Competition Vs Cooperation
  • Networks and Hierarchy
  • Dance
  • Music
  • Drama/Films/Theater
  • Visual Arts
  • Diegesis
  • Haple diegesis
  • Diegesis dia mimeseos
  • Diegesis di’ amphoteron
  • Mimesis

Source: A Unifying Model of the Arts: The Narration/ Coordination Model

The Narration/Coordination model is presented as a unifying model of the arts with regard to psychological processing and social functions. The model proposes a classification of the arts into the two broad categories of the narrative arts and the coordinative arts. The narrative arts function to tell stories, often to promote social learning through the modeling of prosocial behaviors. The coordinative arts function to stimulate group participation through synchronized action, thereby serving as a reinforcer of group affiliation and a promoter of social cooperation. These two categories vary with regard to a number of psychological and social features related to personal engagement, role playing, cognitive structure, and performance. The arts are evolutionarily adaptive because they promote social cooperation through two distinct routes: the simulation of prosocial behaviors via the narrative arts, and the stimulation of group synchronization and cohesion via the coordinative arts.

Narrative and Coordinative Arts


Narration/Coordination Model of the Arts


Features of Narrative and Coordinative Arts


Classification of Arts


Interaction among the Arts


Modular Aspects of Performance Arts


Connections Between the arts: an Indian Perspective


The view that the arts belong to the domain of the sacred and that there is a connection between them is given most clearly in a famous passage in the Vishnudharmottara Purana in which the sage Markandeya instructs the king Vajra in the art of sculpture, teaching that to learn it one must first learn painting, dance, and music:

Vajra: How should I make the forms of gods so that the image may always manifest the deity?

Markandeya: He who does not know the canon of painting (citrasutram) can never know the canon of image-making (pratima lakshanam).

Vajra: Explain to me the canon of painting as one who knows the canon of painting knows the canon of image-making.

Markandeya: It is very difficult to know the canon of painting without the canon of dance (nritta shastra), for in both the world is to be represented.

Vajra: Explain to me the canon of dance and then you will speak about the canon of painting, for one who knows the practice of the canon of dance knows painting.

Markandeya: Dance is difficult to understand by one who is not acquainted with instrumental music (atodya).

Vajra: Speak about instrumental music and then you will speak about the canon of dance, because when the instrumental music is properly understood, one understands dance.

Markandeya: Without vocal music (gita) it is not possible to know instrumental music.

Vajra: Explain to me the canon of vocal music, because he, who knows the canon of vocal music, is the best of men who knows everything.

Markandeya: Vocal music is to be understood as subject to recitation that may be done in two ways, prose (gadya) and verse (padya). Verse is in many meters.

My Related Posts:

The Social Significance of Drama and Narrative Arts

Narrative Psychology: Language, Meaning, and Self

Psychology of Happiness: Value of Storytelling and Narrative Plays

Aesthetics and Ethics

Arts and Moral Philosophy

Drama Therapy: Self in Performance

Aesthetics and Ethics: At the Intersection

Understanding Rasa: Yoga of Nine Emotions

Rituals | Recursion | Mantras | Meaning : Language and Recursion

Meta Integral Theories: Integral Theory, Critical Realism, and Complex Thought

Levels of Human Psychological Development in Integral Spiral Dynamics

Truth, Beauty, and Goodness: Integral Theory of Ken Wilber

Luminosity and Chromaticity: On Light and Color

Geometry of Consciousness

Drama Theory: Acting Strategically

Drama Theory: Choices, Conflicts and Dilemmas

Third and Higher Order Cybernetics

Key Sources of Research:

Toward a Unification of the Arts

Steven Brown*

Front. Psychol. 9:1938. 2018

doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01938

Psychology of Narrative Art

Keith Oatley and Maja Djikic

A Unifying Model of the Arts: The Narration/ Coordination Model

Steven Brown

Empirical Studies of the Arts 2019, Vol. 37(2) 172–196

Click to access NarrCoord.pdf

Interaction, narrative, and drama: Creating an adaptive interactive narrative using performance arts theories

Magy Seif El-Nasr

Art, dance, and music therapy

Healing Dramas and Clinical Plots: The Narrative Structure of Experience (Cambridge Studies in Medical Anthropology)1st Edition

Cheryl Mattingly

A hypothesis on the biological origins and social evolution of music and dance

Tianyan Wang

Narrative, Emotion, and Insight

Edited by Noël Carroll, and John Gibson

The narrative arc: Revealing core narrative structures through text analysis

  • Ryan L. Boyd1,*
  • Kate G. Blackburn2 and 
  • James W. Pennebaker2

 Science Advances   07 Aug 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 32, eaba2196
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba2196

Historical Narratives and the Philosophy of Art

Noël Carroll

The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 

Vol. 51, No. 3, Philosophy and the Histories of the Arts (Summer, 1993),

pp. 313-326 (14 pages) Published By: Wiley

Narratives and Narrators: A Philosophy of Stories

Gregory Currie

The Poetics, Aesthetics, and Philosophy of Narrative

Noël Carroll

Wiley-Blackwell (2009)

The Psychology of Narrative Thought: How the Stories We Tell Ourselves Shape our lives

By Lee Roy Beach

Narrative: State of the Art

Click to access Bamberg,%20%20%20%20%20%20Narrative-State%20of%20the%20Art,%20%20%20%20%20%20Georgakopoulou%20Thinking%20Big%20with%20small%20stories%20in%20narrative%20and%20%20%20%20%20%20identity%20analysis.pdf

Narrative Psychology, Trauma and the Study of Self/Identity

Michele L. Crossley

Theory and Psychology Vol 10, Issue 4, 2000

First Published August 1, 2000

The “Who” System of the Human Brain: A System for Social Cognition About the Self and Others

Steven Brown*

  • Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada

Front. Hum. Neurosci., 19 June 2020 |“Who”-System-of-the-Human-Brain%3A-A-System-for-Brown/ba6117482c0a649736251ef80ab12f6cf9cb7032

The Synthesis of the Arts: From Ceremonial Ritual to “Total Work of Art”

Steven Brown1* and Ellen Dissanayake2

  • 1Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
  • 2School of Music, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States

Front. Sociol., 15 May 2018 |

Storytelling Is Intrinsically Mentalistic: A Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study of Narrative Production across Modalities

Ye Yuan, Judy Major-Girardin, and Steven Brown

The neural basis of audiomotor entrainment: an ALE meta-analysis

Léa A. S. ChauvignéKevin M. Gitau and Steven Brown*

Front. Hum. Neurosci., 30 September 2014 |

The Evolution and Ontogeny of Ritual

Part VI. Culture and Coordination

Cristine H. LegareRachel E. Watson‐Jones

The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology

First published: 18 November 2015

On the distinction of empathic and vicarious emotions

Frieder M. Paulus1,2*, Laura Müller-Pinzler1Stefan Westermann1 and Sören Krach1*

Front. Hum. Neurosci., 15 May 2013 |

The Narrative Construction of Reality

Jerome Bruner

Click to access bruner1991narrative.pdf

Cooperation and the evolution of hunter-gatherer storytelling

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-02036-8


Ancient or Modern? Alexander G. Baumgarten and the Coming of Age of Aesthetics

Alessandro Nannini

Click to access 0353-57381503629N.pdf


Stephen Davies, Philosophy, University of Auckland

Diegesis – Mimesis

Stephen Halliwell
Created: 17. October 2012 Revised: 12. September 2013

Published on the living handbook of narratology (–-mimesis

Art and Cosmology in India

Subhash Kak 2006

Cosmic Mirror Theory

Cosmic Mirror Theory

Source: Why some physicists really think there’s a ‘mirror universe’ hiding in space-time

Why does the Universe look like a Gemstone? A Jewel? An Opal maybe?

Why does the Universe look like an egg? Brahmanda?

Concept of Mirror is invoked in four ways in Cosmology

  • Shape of the Universe – Multi-connected manifolds – Dodecahedron topology – Reflecting Surfaces – Hall of Mirrors – Cosmic Crystals
  • Mirror Universe – a Parallel universe- Universe having a mirror twin – before the Big Bang – Symmetrical Opposite
  • Black Holes – Black Holes have mirror opposite in White Holes
  • Universe as a Hologram

Key Terms

  • Cosmic Hall of Mirrors
  • Parallel universe
  • Black holes
  • White Holes
  • Big Bang Theory
  • Shape of the Universe
  • Multiverse
  • Indira’s Net
  • Buckminster Fuller
  • Mirror Symmetry
  • Quantum Biology
  • Relational Science
  • Entanglements
  • Action at a distance
  • Holographic Universe
  • Fractal Universe
  • Recursive Universe
  • Universe as a Cow
  • Universe as a Human
  • Universe as Brahmanda
  • CBOE
  • WMAP
  • ACT
  • Curvature of Space
  • Topology of Space
  • Cosmic Topology
  • Cosmic Harmonics
  • Dodecahedral Space
  • Triloka (Three Universes)
  • Trikaal (Three Times)
  • MultiConnected Manifolds
  • Age of Universe – 13.77 Billion Years
  • 14 Lokas in Hinduism – Realms – Levels
  • Anthromorphic Universe
  • Maha Vishnu
  • 5 Sheaths (Kosh) in Humans
  • Tripartite Universe
  • Triguna
  • Interconnected Hypothesis
  • Cosmic Microwave Background CMB
  • Dark Energy
  • Dark Matter
  • Mirrorverse

Shape of the Universe


Cosmic Microwave Background from different probes

Source: Pintrest/478366791654117997/



Source: PLANCK Data 2018

Source: Decoding the cosmic microwave background

Decoding the cosmic microwave background

The Big Bang left behind a unique signature on the sky. Probes such as COBE, WMAP, and Planck taught us how to read it.

By Liz Kruesi | Published: Friday, July 27, 2018

This all-sky map, released in March 2013 and based on 15.5 months of observation, shows tiny fluctuations in the temperature of the CMB. These variations correspond to minute under- and over-densities of matter that ultimately led to the large-scale structure we see in the universe today. The redder areas represent above-average temperatures, and bluer areas show temperatures colder than average.

European Space Agency, Planck Collaboration

A glow undetectable to the human eye permeates the universe. This light is the remnant signature of the cosmic beginning — a dense, hot fireball that burst forth and created all mass, energy, and time. The primordial cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation has since traveled some 13.8 billion years through the expanding cosmos to our telescopes on Earth and above it.

But the CMB isn’t just light. It holds within it an incredible wealth of knowledge that astronomers have been teasing out for the past few decades. “It’s the earliest view we have of the universe,” says Princeton University cosmologist Joanna Dunkley. “And it gives us so much information because all the things that we now see out in space — the galaxies, the clusters of galaxies — the very earliest seeds of those, we see in this CMB light.”

Extracting these clues from the CMB has taken multiple generations of telescopes on the ground, lofted into the atmosphere, and launched into space. In the mid-1960s, when Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered the CMB’s pervasive microwave static across the sky, it appeared identical everywhere. It would take satellites launched above Earth’s obscuring atmosphere to map that microwave glow to precisions on the order of millionths of a degree. Specifically, three satellites — COBE, WMAP, and Planck — revealed that our current cosmos, which is complex and filled with clusters of galaxies, stars, planets, and black holes, evolved from a surprisingly simple early universe.

The Planck satellite produced the most detailed image of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) to date.

The universe began with the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago as a fiery sea that expanded rapidly. A few minutes later, the universe’s constituent primordial subatomic particles glommed together into an elemental soup of atomic nuclei containing hydrogen, helium, and trace amounts of lithium. Electrons and light collided and scattered off of those atomic nuclei. Over the next thousands of years, the cosmos continued to expand, giving the particles more room to move and allowing the universe’s temperature to cool bit by bit. Around 380,000 years after the Big Bang, the temperature dropped to about 3,000 kelvins, cool enough for electrons to latch onto hydrogen nuclei. The universe became mostly neutral hydrogen, with some heavier elements swirled in.

With fewer individual particles zooming around, light could finally move about freely. And so it has traveled, mostly unhindered, in the approximately 13.8 billion years since that time of “last scattering.” These photons carry a snapshot of the 380,000-year-old universe.

Since the 1960s, telescopes on Earth have captured that glow in every direction of the sky. While the light 380,000 years into the universe’s history would have been visible to human eyes if we were around, cosmic expansion has since stretched the light into the longer wavelengths of microwaves — at least, that’s the wavelength astronomers had predicted. But would observations match theory?

The three probes

The Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) launched in 1989. One of its instruments measured the intensity of the microwave glow at wavelengths ranging from 0.1 to 10 millimeters across the entire sky. The COBE science team’s first announcement, in 1990, was the result of that measurement. The radiation’s intensity plotted by wavelength makes it obvious that the CMB has a very specific intensity curve, where the strongest signal is at 2 mm. That wavelength corresponds to a temperature of 2.725 K. (The wavelength of light, and thus how much energy that light carries, is directly related to its temperature; redder light has less energy and a lower temperature than bluer light.)

COBE’s other instrument broke apart the seemingly uniform 2.725 K glow into more detail, looking for spots where the temperature is warmer or colder than average. It turned out there is a difference of only a tiny fraction of a degree, about 0.00001 K, between hotter and colder spots.

Each successive cosmological probe has improved astronomers’ view of the CMB with better resolution, revealing ever-finer details (anisotropies in temperature and density) that hold the key to assembling an accurate picture of our young universe.

This nearly identical cosmic glow with exactly the right temperature was concrete evidence that the entire sky — the entire observable universe — began in a Big Bang. With such tiny temperature differences across vast regions of sky, those spots must have been in contact at early times. COBE leaders John Mather and George Smoot won the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work.

But there is so much more that scientists can do with the CMB than confirm the Big Bang. “From the anisotropies, the hot and cold spots, we get the initial conditions — how bumpy was the early universe and also what is its composition,” says Mather.

The next CMB satellite was designed to improve upon these anisotropy measurements, mapping them at finer angular resolutions. COBE could map hot and cold spots of about 7° on the sky, while the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), launched in 2001 and operated until 2010, could zoom in to a resolution of better than 0.5°. Planck, the CMB satellite that operated from 2009 to 2013, zoomed in even further, to 0.16°.

All of these missions mapped temperatures to the order of 0.00001 to 0.000001 K. To minimize measurement errors related to such small signals, the spacecrafts’ detectors pointed toward two spots on the sky at the same time and measured the temperature difference between them. The satellites swept the entire sky in this fashion, and software generated a map of all those tiny differences. That map holds a treasure-trove of cosmic secrets.

The CMB represents the moment at which the universe became “transparent.” Immediately after its birth, the universe was hot and dense. As it expanded, it cooled, and its density dropped. Within the young universe, photons couldn’t travel very far — a few inches — before colliding with a nearby particle. As the matter in the universe transitioned from plasma (left) to atomic hydrogen (right) 380,000 years after the Big Bang, photons could travel much farther — the width of the universe — without necessarily experiencing a collision. This moment, also called the surface of last scattering, is encoded in the CMB we see today.

Unlocking the early universe
To reveal those secrets, cosmologists study the pattern of hot and cold spots frozen into the CMB and decompose those spots into their constituent sizes. While most of the hot and cold spots are about 1° on the sky, they are overlaid on fluctuations with larger sizes.

“Imagine looking at a smooth pond of water that we might drop pebbles into,” says Dunkley. “If you drop a whole bunch of pebbles in, the ripples will sort of combine together, and you see a whole pattern of ripples across the water. We think of this pattern of slightly different temperatures of this light on the sky a little bit like the pond after it’s covered in ripples.”

The size breakdown of the CMB’s temperature spots, or fluctuations, is like a cosmic Rosetta Stone. The strength of the fluctuations’ signals at different scales is associated with the universe’s age, its ingredients, its expansion rate, and when the first stars lit up the cosmos. By comparing computer models to the signal strengths (which astronomers obtained from analyzing WMAP and Planck data), researchers can piece together what the early universe looked like and how it has evolved.

Thanks to these three cosmic probes, we know the universe began in a Big Bang, and around 380,000 years later, electrons and protons combined, letting light roam free. We know our cosmos is 13.8 billion years old and how fast it is expanding. We know that 31 percent of the universe is matter, but only 5 percent is made of ordinary matter like you and me, while 26 percent is invisible dark matter. Much more of the cosmos is composed of a mysterious, repulsive dark energy — 69 percent.

And perhaps most importantly, astronomers now have a way to find out pieces of information not literally encoded in the CMB itself. That’s because the CMB maps and their statistics have led to the so-called standard model of cosmology.

“We now have a really simple model that describes basically all of our observations,” says Dunkley. “We can track from the very first moments of time all the way through today and make predictions about how large-scale structure evolved. And it has remarkable success. That’s the big thing these satellite missions have given the community.”

Mirror Universe


Our Universe May Be a Giant Hologram

Physicist Brian Greene explains how properties at the black hole’s surface—its event horizon—suggest the unsettling theory that our world is a mere representation of another universe, a shadow of the realm where real events take place.

Brian Greene


Two monster black holes may lie within the double bright area at the center of galaxy NGC 6240. NASA

If, when I was growing up, my room had been adorned with only a single mirror, my childhood daydreams might have been very different. But it had two. And each morning when I opened the closet to get my clothes, the one built into its door aligned with the one on the wall, creating a seemingly endless series of reflections of anything situated between them. It was mesmerizing. All the reflections seemed to move in unison—but that, I knew, was a mere limitation of human perception; at a young age I had learned of light’s finite speed. So in my mind’s eye, I would watch the light’s round-trip journeys. The bob of my head, the sweep of my arm silently echoed between the mirrors, each reflected image nudging the next. Sometimes I would imagine an irreverent me way down the line who refused to fall into place, disrupting the steady progression and creating a new reality that informed the ones that followed. During lulls at school, I would sometimes think about the light I had shed that morning, still endlessly bouncing between the mirrors, and I would join one of my reflected selves, entering an imaginary parallel world constructed of light and driven by fantasy.

To be sure, reflected images don’t have minds of their own. But these youthful flights of fancy, with their imagined parallel realities, resonate with an increasingly prominent theme in modern science—the possibility of worlds lying beyond the one we know.

There was a time when the word universe meant “all there is.” Everything. The whole shebang. The notion of more than one universe, more than one everything, would seemingly be a contradiction in terms. Yet a range of theoretical developments has gradually qualified the interpretation of universe. The word’s meaning now depends on context. Sometimes universe still connotes absolutely everything. Sometimes it refers only to those parts of everything that someone such as you or I could, in principle, have access to. Sometimes it’s applied to separate realms, ones that are partly or fully, temporarily or permanently, inaccessible to us; in this sense, the word relegates our universe 
to membership in a large, perhaps infinitely large, collection.

With its hegemony diminished, universe has given way to other terms that capture the wider canvas on which the totality of reality may be painted. Parallel worlds or parallel universes or multiple universes or alternate universes or the metaverse, megaverse, or multiverse—they’re all synonymous, and they’re all among the words used to embrace not just our universe but a spectrum of others that may be out there.

The strangest version of all parallel universe proposals is one that emerged gradually over 30 years of theoretical studies on the quantum properties of black holes. The work culminated in the last decade, and it suggests, remarkably, that all we experience is nothing but a holographic projection of processes taking place on some distant surface that surrounds us. You can pinch yourself, and what you feel will be real, but it mirrors a parallel process taking place in a different, distant reality.

Plato likened our view of the world to that of an ancient forebear watching shadows meander across a dimly lit cave wall. He imagined our perceptions to be but a faint inkling of a far richer reality that flickers beyond reach. Two millennia later, Plato’s cave may be more than a metaphor. To turn his suggestion on its head, reality—not its mere shadow—may take place on a distant boundary surface, while everything we witness in the three common spatial dimensions is a projection of that faraway unfolding. Reality, that is, may be akin to a hologram. Or, really, a holographic movie.

The journey to this peculiar possibility combines developments deep and far-flung—insights from general relativity; from research on black holes; from thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, and, most recently, string theory. The thread linking these diverse areas is the nature of information in a quantum universe.

Physicists Jacob Bekenstein and Stephen Hawking established that, for a black hole, the information storage capacity is determined not by the volume of its interior but by the area of its surface. But when the math says that a black hole’s store of information is measured by its surface area, does that merely reflect a numerical accounting, or does it mean that the black hole’s surface is where the information is actually stored? It’s a deep issue and has been pursued for decades by some of the most renowned physicists. The answer depends on whether you view the black hole from the outside or from the inside—and from the outside, there’s good reason to believe that information is indeed stored at the event horizon. This doesn’t merely highlight a peculiar feature of black holes. Black holes don’t just tell us about how black holes store information. 
Black holes inform us about information storage 
in any context.

Think of any region of space, such as the room in which you’re reading. Imagine that whatever happens in the region amounts to information processing—information regarding how things are right now is transformed by the laws of physics into information regarding how they will be in a second or a minute or an hour. Since the physical processes we witness, as well as those by which we’re governed, seemingly take place within the region, it’s natural to expect that the information those processes carry is also found within the region. But for black holes, we’ve found that the link between information and surface area goes beyond mere numerical accounting; there’s a concrete sense in which information is stored on their surfaces. Physicists Leonard Susskind and Gerard ’t Hooft stressed that the lesson should be general: Since the information required to describe physical phenomena within any given region of space can be fully encoded by data on a surface that surrounds the region, then there’s reason to think that the surface is where the fundamental physical processes actually happen. Our familiar three-dimensional reality, these bold thinkers suggest, would then be likened to a holographic projection of those distant two-dimensional physical processes.

If this line of reasoning is correct, then there are physical processes taking place on some distant surface that, much as a puppeteer pulls strings, are fully linked to the processes taking place in my fingers, arms, and brain as I type these words at my desk. Our experiences here and that distant reality there would form the most interlocked of parallel worlds. Phenomena in the two—I’ll call them Holographic Parallel Universes—would be so fully joined that their respective evolutions would be as connected as me and my shadow.

 Excerpted from The Hidden Reality by Brian Greene. Copyright © 2011 by Brian Greene. Reprinted with permission by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

 See the related DISCOVER feature, “The Strange Physicsand SightsInside Black Holes.”

My Related Posts

Shape of the Universe

Mind, Consciousness and Quantum Entanglement

Myth of Invariance: Sound, Music, and Recurrent Events and Structures

On Anticipation: Going Beyond Forecasts and Scenarios

Consciousness of Cosmos: A Fractal, Recursive, Holographic Universe

Geometry of Consciousness

The Great Chain of Being

Maha Vakyas: Great Aphorisms in Vedanta

Indra’s Net: On Interconnectedness

On Synchronicity

Color Science of Gem Stones

Key Sources of Research

CPT-Symmetric Universe

Latham Boyle,1 Kieran Finn,1,2 and Neil Turok1
1Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 2Y5
2School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, United Kingdom

PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS 121, 251301 (2018)

Why some physicists really think there’s a ‘mirror universe’ hiding in space-time

By Rafi Letzter – Staff Writer June 22, 2020

Cosmology of the Mirror Universe

Paolo Ciarcelluti

April 2003 PhD Thesis

Mirror dark matter:
Cosmology, galaxy structure and direct detection

R. Foot

ARC Centre of Excellence for Particle Physics at the Terascale, School of Physics, University of Melbourne,
Victoria 3010 Australia


Mirror dark matter cosmology and structure formation

Roux, Jean-Samuel

PhD Thesis McGill Univ

White holes: Do black holes have mirror images? 

These black hole opposites would spew energy, be impossible to enter, and might even answer some of the universe’s fundamental questions.By Bill Andrews  |  Published: Friday, June 28, 2019

A cosmic hall of mirrors

Jean-Pierre Luminet
Laboratoire Univers et Théories (LUTH) – CNRS UMR Observatoire de Paris, 92195 Meudon (France)

The fractal universe

SEPTEMBER 12, 2018

Love the Reflections in the Cosmic Mirror

The Shape of the Universe: Ten Possibilities

Is the universe a dodecahedron?


Planck and the cosmic microwave background

The Atacama Cosmology Telescope ACT

Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe WMAP

Cosmic Topology : Twenty Years After

Jean-Pierre Luminet,

Laboratoire Univers et Th ́eories Observatoire de Paris-CNRS-Universit ́e Paris Diderot (France) email :

October 15, 2013

Cosmic microwave background anisotropies in multi-connected flat spaces

Alain Riazuelo∗
Service de Physique Th ́eorique, CEA/DSM/SPhT, Unit ́e de recherche associ ́ee au CNRS, CEA/Saclay F–91191 Gif-sur-Yvette c ́edex, France

Jeffrey Weeks†
15 Farmer St., Canton NY 13617-1120, USA

Jean-Philippe Uzan‡
Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, GRεCO, FRE 2435-CNRS, 98bis boulevard Arago, 75014 Paris, France Laboratoire de Physique Th ́eorique, CNRS-UMR 8627,
Universit ́e Paris Sud, Bˆatiment 210, F–91405 Orsay c ́edex, France

Roland Lehoucq§
CE-Saclay, DSM/DAPNIA/Service d’Astrophysique, F–91191 Gif-sur-Yvette c ́edex, France, Laboratoire Univers et Th ́eories, CNRS-UMR 8102,
Observatoire de Paris, F–92195 Meudon c ́edex, France

Jean-Pierre Luminet¶
Laboratoire Univers et Th ́eories, CNRS-UMR 8102, Observatoire de Paris, F–92195 Meudon c ́edex, France (Dated: 13 November 2003)


The Shape of Space after WMAP data

Jean-Pierre Luminet
Laboratoire Univers et Th ́eories, CNRS-UMR 8102, Observatoire de Paris, F–92195 Meudon c ́edex, France.


Click to access a02v361b.pdf

Dodecahedral space topology as an explanation for weak wide-angle temperature correlations in the cosmic microwave background

Geometry and Topology in Relativistic Cosmology

Jean-Pierre Luminet

Laboratoire Univers et Théories, CNRS-UMR 8102, Observatoire de Paris, F-92195 Meudon cedex, France


The Spectral Action and Cosmic Topology

Matilde Marcolli

MAT1314HS Winter 2019, University of Toronto T 12-2 and W 12 BA6180

Click to access IntroNCGToronto10.pdf

Cosmic Topology

M. Lachieze-Rey (1), J.P.Luminet


Cosmic crystallography

R. Lehoucq1, M. Lachi`eze–Rey1,2 and J.P. Luminet3

  1. 1  CE-Saclay, DSM/DAPNIA/Service d’Astrophysique, F-91191 Gif sur Yvette cedex, France
  2. 2  CE-Saclay, DSM/DAPNIA/Service d’Astrophysique, CNRS–URA 2052, F-91191 Gif sur Yvette cedex, France
  3. 3  D ́epartement d’Astrophysique Relativiste et de Cosmologie, CNRS–UPR 176, Observatoire de Paris–Meudon, France

september 1995

The Status of Cosmic Topology after Planck Data 

Jean-Pierre Luminet 1,2

Received: 19 November 2015; Accepted: 7 January 2016; Published: 15 January 2016 Academic Editors: Stephon Alexander, Jean-Michel Alimi, Elias C. Vagenas and Lorenzo Iorio

Cosmic Topology: A Brief Overview

M. J. Rebouc ̧as

Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas F ́ısicas, Departamento de Relatividade e Part ́ıculas Rua Dr. Xavier Sigaud, 150 , 22290-180 Rio de Janeiro – RJ, Brazil

and G. I. Gomero

The shape of space between WMAP and planck


Jean-Pierre Luminet

The Shape of Space from Einstein to WMAP data

AIP Conference Proceedings 841, 115 (2006);

Jean‐Pierre Luminet

Planck 2013 results. XXVI. Background geometry and topology of the Universe

The Shape and Topology of the Universe

Jean-Pierre Luminet


Signature of topology of the Universe

Vipin Kumar Sharma

University of Lucknow


Planck 2015 results
XVIII. Background geometry and topology of the Universe

How the Universe Got its Spots

Janna Levin1, Evan Scannapieco1, Giancarlo de Gasperis1, Joseph Silk1 and John D. Barrow2 1Center for Particle Astrophysics, UC Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-7304
2Astronomy Centre, University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QJ, U.K.


The Conformal Singularity as a Cosmological Mirror: Classical Theory

DOI: 10.1080/21672857.2013.11519718

Michael Ibison

Early Universe cosmology in the light of the mirror dark matter interpretation of the DAMA/Libra signal

Paolo Ciarcellutia Robert Footb

Physics Letters B
Volume 679, Issue 3, 24 August 2009, Pages 278-281

Making Sense of the Big Bang: Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe


Planck 2018 results. I. Overview and the cosmological legacy of Planck

24. Cosmological Parameters

What Shape Is the Universe? A New Study Suggests We’ve Got It All Wrong

Planck evidence for a closed Universe and a possible crisis for cosmology

Eleonora Di Valentino1, Alessandro Melchiorri  2* and Joseph Silk

Click to access DiValentino2020NatureAst4.196.pdf

A new look at the universe’s oldest light

The Atacama Cosmology Telescope: a measurement of the Cosmic Microwave Background power spectra at 98 and 150 GHz

Steve K. Choi1,2,3, Matthew Hasselfield4,5,6, Shuay-Pwu Patty Ho3, Brian Koopman7, Marius Lungu3,8, Maximilian H. Abitbol9, Graeme E. Addison10, Peter A. R. Ade11, Simone Aiola4,3, David Alonso9

Mapping the Universe

Mark Altaweel | February 18, 2020 | Spatial Analysis

Planck and the cosmic microwave background

Cosmological crisis: We don’t know if the universe is round or flat

What shape is the universe?

As far as cosmologists can tell, space is almost perfectly flat. But what does this mean?

By Cody Cottier  |  Published: Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Is the Universe Curved? Not So Fast

By Paul Sutter December 02, 2019

Planck reveals an almost perfect Universe

2.4. The Cosmic Microwave Background

Decoding the cosmic microwave background

The Big Bang left behind a unique signature on the sky. Probes such as COBE, WMAP, and Planck taught us how to read it.

By Liz Kruesi  |  Published: Friday, July 27, 2018

The Universe Might Be a Giant Loop

By Rafi Letzter – Staff Writer November 04, 2019

Is the universe a dodecahedron?

08 Oct 2003 Isabelle Dumé

Geometry of the Universe :

Cosmological Constraints on Mirror Matter Parameters 

Paolo Ciarcelluti1 and Quentin Wallemacq


What It Means to Live in a Holographic Universe


Our Universe May Be a Giant Hologram

Our universe has antimatter partner on the other side of the Big Bang, say physicists

03 Jan 2019

A cosmic hall of mirrors

26 Sep 2005

Mystery of the Cosmic Mirror

What if the Universe has no end?

Mirror World, E(6) Unification and Cosmology

C.R. Das 1 ∗, L.V. Laperashvili 2 †,
1 Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, India

2 The Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics, Moscow, Russia

Click to access mirror_world_e6_unification_and_cosmology.pdf

We’ve seen signs of a mirror-image universe that is touching our own

Mirror Image Theory Suggests Existence of an Antimatter Universe

Did time flow in two directions from the big bang, making two futures?

Read more:

The Haunting World of the Mirrorverse

Three scientific mysteries which suggest a parallel world

New search for mirror neutron regeneration

L.J. BroussardK.M. BaileyW.B. BaileyJ.L. BarrowK. BerryA. BloseC. CrawfordL. Debeer-SchmittM. FrostA. Galindo-UribarriF.X. GallmeierC.E. GilbertL. HeilbronnE.B. IversonA. JohnstonY. KamyshkovP. LewizI. NovikovS.I. PenttiläS. VavraA.R. Young

17 Dec 2019

New Search for Mirror Neutrons at HFIR

  • October 2017

Leah Broussard
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Joshua Lawrence Barrow
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab)

B. Chance

Christopher Crawford
University of Kentucky

Radiation as Self-Action via a Cosmological Mirror

Michael Ibison

09 Nov 2015

Astronomical Review 
Volume 7, 2012 – Issue 3

Consciousness And Parallel Universes: Does A Connection Exist?

Niloy Chattaraj

September 19, 2020

The Holographic Universe Explained

A Thin Sheet of Reality: The Universe as a Hologram

The Multiverse Hypothesis Explained by Max Tegmark

Luminosity and Chromaticity: On Light and Color

Luminosity and Chromaticity: On Light and Color

Key Terms and Ideas

  • Luminosity and Chromaticity
  • Light and Color
  • Diwali (Festival of Light) and Holi (Festival of Colors)
  • Rama and Krishna
  • Non Dual Vedanta and Trika Philosophy
  • 1 and 3
  • Verticalism and Horizontalism
  • Vedic and Tantric
  • Flute of Krishna and Shiva Jyotir Linga
  • Bow and Arrow of Ram
  • Ram Parivar and Shiv Parivar
  • Shiv Ratri
  • Plato and Aristotle
  • Sun, Moon, Earth and Mars
  • Rods and Cones in Retina
  • Color Temperature
  • Lok and Kosh
  • Seven Chakra
  • Trishool
  • Ram, Lakshman, Sita, Hanuman
  • Achromatic and Chromatic
  • Grey scale and Color Primaries
  • Mind and Moon
  • Moon and Emotions
  • Tone Circle
  • Color Circle
  • Pythagoras
  • 3 and 7
  • 137
  • 007
  • Prism
  • Seven Colors
  • 4 + 3 = 7
  • 4 x 3 = 12
  • Pentatonic
  • Heptatonic
  • Diatonic Scale
  • Chromatic Scale

Newton’s Color Circle


Color Circle in Opticks of I.Newton

Source: Reprint of Opticks by Project Gutenberg

Color Sensation

Source: Understanding color & the in-camera image processing pipeline for computer vision

Electromagnetic Spectrum

Source: Notes for the course of Color Digital Image Processing

Color Temperature

Source: Understanding color & the in-camera image processing pipeline for computer vision

Color Temperatures of the Stars

Luminosity Function

Source: Understanding color & the in-camera image processing pipeline for computer vision

CIE 1931 XYZ

Source: Understanding color & the in-camera image processing pipeline for computer vision


Source: Human Vision and Color

Brightness, Lightness,Hue, Saturation, and Luminosity

Source: The Brightness of Colour

Brightness has been defined as the perceived intensity of a visual stimulus, irrespective of its source. Lightness, on the other hand, is defined as the apparent brightness of an object relative to the object’s reflectance. Thus increasing the intensity of light falling on an object will increase its apparent brightness but not necessarily its apparent lightness, other things being equal [1]. Saturation is a measure of the spectral ‘‘purity’’ of a colour, and thus how different it is from a neutral, achromatic stimulus. Hue is the perception of how similar a stimulus is to red, green, blue etc. Luminous efficiency, or luminosity, measures the effect that light of different wavelengths has on the human visual system. It is a function of wavelength, usually written as V(l) [2], and is typically measured by rapidly alternating a pair of stimuli falling on the same area of the retina; the subject alters the physical radiance of one stimulus until the apparent flickering is minimised. Thus luminance is a measure of the intensity of a stimulus given the sensitivity of the human visual system, and so is integrated over wavelength [3]. Luminance is thought to be used by the brain to process motion, form and texture [4].

Clearly, brightness is monotonically related to luminance in the simplest case: the more luminant the stimulus is, the brighter it appears to be. However, the Helmholtz-Kohlrausch (HK) effect shows that the brightness of a stimulus is not a simple representation of luminance, since the brightness of equally luminant stimuli changes with their relative saturation (i.e. strongly coloured stimuli appear brighter than grey stimuli), and with shifts in the spectral distribution of the stimulus (e.g. ‘blues’ and ‘reds’ appear brighter than ‘greens’ and ‘yellows’ at equiluminance) [1; 5–6].

The HK effect has been measured in a variety of psychophysical studies [7–8] and is often expressed in terms of the (variable) ratio between brightness and luminance. 


Source: Human Vision and Color

Human Eye

Source: Human Vision and Color

Human Retina

Source: Human Vision and Color

Rods and Cones Photoreceptors

Source: Human Vision and Color

Color Receptors

Source: Human Vision and Color

Tristimulus Color

Source: Color/CMU

Visual Sensitivity

Source: Human Vision

Light and Color (Photometry and Colorimetry) I

Source: Interactive Computer Graphics/UOMichigan

Light and Color (Photometry and Colorimetry) II

Source: Interactive Computer Graphics/UOMichigan

Two Types of Light Sensitive Cells

Source: Interactive Computer Graphics/UOMichigan

Cones and Rod Sensitivity

Source: Interactive Computer Graphics/UOMichigan

Distribution of Cones in Retina


Types of Color Stimuli

Source: Perceiving Color.

Color Perception

Source: Perceiving Color.


Source: Human Vision and Color

Luminance and Chromaticity Space

Source: Understanding color & the in-camera image processing pipeline for computer vision

1931 CIE Chromaticity Chart

CIE 1931 Chromaticity Diagram

Source: Human Vision and Color

Source: Notes for the course of Color Digital Image Processing

Additive Colors

Source: Human Vision and Color

Subtractive Colors

Source: Human Vision and Color

Color Mixing

Source: Human Vision and Color

Color Appearance Models
  • RGB
  • CMY
  • CIE xyY
  • Hunter LAB
  • HSB
  • HSV
  • HSL
  • HSI
  • YIQ for NTSC TVs in USA
  • YUV for PAL TVs in EU
  • YCbCr for digital TVs
  • Munsell Color System

Color Models are device independent. For discussion of device dependent color spaces, please see my post Digital Color and Imaging.

LMS, RGB, and CIE XYZ Color Spaces

Source: Color/CMU

HSV Color Space

My Related Posts

Reflective Display Technology: Using Pigments and Structural Colors

Color Science and Technology in LCD and LED Displays

Color Science of Gem Stones

Nature’s Fantastical Palette: Color From Structure

Optics of Metallic and Pearlescent Colors

Color Change: In Biology and Smart Pigments Technology

Color and Imaging in Digital Video and Cinema

Digital Color and Imaging

On Luminescence: Fluorescence, Phosphorescence, and Bioluminescence

On Light, Vision, Appearance, Color and Imaging

Understanding Rasa: Yoga of Nine Emotions

Shapes and Patterns in Nature

Key Sources of Research

What Are The Characteristics Of Color?

Birren Color Theory

by ADMIN on MARCH 11, 2012

Light, Color, Perception, and Color Space Theory

Professor Brian A. Barsky

Computer Science Division
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences University of California, Berkeley

Understanding Color Spaces and Color Space Conversion

The Human Visual System and Color Models

Click to access Carmody_Visual&ColorModels.pdf

Defining and Communicating Color: The CIELAB System

Color Vision and Arts



A short history of color theory

Let’s Colormath

Understanding the formulas of color conversion

A History of Human Color Vision—from Newton to Maxwell

Barry R. Masters

Optics and Photonics January 2011—from_newton_to_max/

The Difference Between Chroma and Saturation

Munsell Color

Charles S. Peirce’s Phenomenology: Analysis and Consciousness

By Richard Kenneth Atkins

The Evolution of Human Color Vision/ Jeremy Nathans

Jeremy Nathans Lecture on Color Vision




The Genes for Color Vision

Jeremy Nathans


A Short History of Color Photography

Photography  |  Angie Kordic

Blue: The History of a Color (2001)

followed by Black: The History of a Color (2009) and then Green: The History of a Color (2014), all produced by the same publisher. A fifth, devoted to yellow, should come next. 

Historic Look on Color Theory 

Steele R. Stokley

The evolution of colour in design from the 1950s to today

Francesca Valan

Journal of the International Colour Association (2012): 8, 55-60

Greek Color Theory and the Four Elements

J.L. Benson

University of Massachusetts Amherst


History of Color System

The Origins of Modern Color Science

J D Mollon

Click to access MollonColorScience.pdf

The History of Colors

Tobias Kiefer

Click to access Assignment_History_of_Colors.PDF

Notes for the course of Color Digital Image Processing

Edoardo Provenzi

Understanding color & the in-camera image processing pipeline for computer vision

Dr. Michael S. Brown

Canada Research Chair Professor York University – Toronto

ICCV 2019 Tutorial – Seoul, Korea

Chapter 2
Basic Color Theory

Click to access t3.pdf

Color Science

CS 4620 Lecture 26

Click to access 26color.pdf

Color Image Perception, Representation and Contrast Enhancement

Yao Wang
Tandon School of Engineering, New York University


Arne Valberg, Bjørg Helene Andorsen, Kine Angelo, Barbara Szybinska Matusiak and Claudia Moscoso

Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim, Norway

A Primer to Colors in Digital Design

Archit Jha

Jul 16, 2017


Click to access 07_additive-color.pdf


Matthias Zwicker Universität Bern Herbst 2016


Click to access ColorPerception.pdf

Introduction to Computer Vision

The Perception of Color

In: Webvision: The Organization of the Retina and Visual System [Internet]. Salt Lake City (UT): University of Utah Health Sciences Center; 1995–.2005 May 1 [updated 2007 Jul 9]

Visual Pigment Gene Structure and Expression in Human Retinae 

Tomohiko Yamaguchi,  Arno G. Motulsky,  Samir S. Deeb

Human Molecular Genetics, Volume 6, Issue 7, July 1997, Pages 981–990,

The Difference Between Chroma and Saturation


Number by Colors

A Guide to Using Color to Understand Technical Data
  • Brand Fortner
  • Theodore E. Meyer

Chapter 5 Perceiving Color

The Practical Guide To Color Theory For Photographers

History of the Bauhaus

The Digital Artist’s Complete Guide To Mastering Color Theory

byLeigh G


Anthony Holdsworth

Molecular Genetics of Color Vision and Color Vision Defects

Maureen Neitz, PhDJay Neitz, PhD

Arch Ophthalmol. 2000;118(5):691-700. doi:10.1001/archopht.118.5.691

Color Theory: Introduction to Color Theory and the Color Wheel

Color Spaces and Color Temperature

The Brightness of Colour

David Corney1, John-Dylan Haynes2, Geraint Rees3,4, R. Beau Lotto1*

EECS 487: Interactive Computer Graphics



Basics of Color Theory



Color Matching and Color Discrimination

The Science of Color


1.3 Color Temperature

Color Spaces and Color Temperature

Digital Camera Sensor Colorimetry

Douglas A. Kerr

Click to access Sensor_Colorimetry.pdf

Chromatic luminance, colorimetric purity, and optimal aperture‐color stimuli

DOI: 10.1002/col.20356

Title: A Review of RGB Color Spaces …from xyY to R’G’B’

The CIE XYZ and xyY Color Spaces

Douglas A. Kerr

Click to access CIE_XYZ.pdf


Wallace B. Thoreson and Dennis M. Dacey

Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Truhlsen Eye Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska; and Department of Biological Structure, Washington National Primate Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Physiol Rev 99: 1527–1573, 2019 Published May 29, 2019; doi:10.1152/physrev.00027.2018

Human Vision

Introduction to color theory


Human Vision and Color


Click to access 121.pdf


Andrew Stockman

Department of Visual Neuroscience UCL Institute of Opthalmology London, United KIngdom

David H. Brainard

Department of Psychology University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania



Click to access lecture15.pdf

What Are The Characteristics Of Color?


A Guide to Color

Guide C-316
Revised by Jennah McKinley

A History of Color

The Evolution of Theories of Lights and Color
  • Robert A. Crone

The Brilliant History of Color in Art

Victoria Finlay

A History of Light and Colour Measurement
Science in the Shadows

Sean F Johnston

University of Glasgow, Crichton Campus, UK

Color codes: modern theories of color in philosophy, painting and architecture, literature, music and psychology

Charles Riley

Chapter 6 Colour

History of Color Systems

Reflective Display Technology: Using Pigments and Structural Colors

Reflective Display Technology: Using Pigments and Structural Colors

Source: E-Ink Inc.

Key Terms

  • E Ink
  • E Paper
  • ACeP (Advanced Colors e Paper)
  • E Readers
  • Note/Writing Pads
  • E Labels
  • E TAG
  • E Newspaper
  • E Whiteboard
  • ESL (Electronic Shelf Label)
  • Signage
  • Displays
  • Reflective Displays
  • Flexible Displays
  • LCD/LED Displays
  • QLED
  • OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes)
  • Electrowetting Display (EWD)
  • Glass Based e Paper
  • Flexible e Paper
  • CLEARInk (E Ink + LCD)
  • CFA (Color Filter Array)
  • Electrophoretic display (EPD)
  • OTFT (Organic Thin Film Transistors)
  • Flexible AM OLED
  • Flexible AM EPD
  • Active Matrix OLED (AM-OLED)
  • Organic Electronics
  • Flexible Electronics
  • Printed Electronics
  • Conjugated Conducting Polymers
  • Transparent Displays
  • Luminescent Displays
  • Passive Matrix (PM)
  • Reflective LCD
  • Transmissive LCD
  • Transflective LCD
  • Cholesteric Liquid Crystals
  • ElectroChromic Displays (ECD)
  • ElectroFluidic Displays (EFD)
  • Photonic Crystals Displays
  • Plasmonic Colors Displays

Source: Active control of plasmonic colors: emerging display technologies

Source: Review of Paper-Like Display Technologies

Technology of Dyes, Pigments, and Structural Colors

Source: Chromic Phenomena: Technological Applications of Colour Chemistry

Reflective Color Generation Technology in Displays

  • Pigmentation
  • Structural


Review Paper: A critical review of the present and future prospects for electronic paper

Review Paper: A critical review of the present and future prospects for electronic paper

Types of Reflective e-Paper Technologies
(Color and Monochrome)

  • Electrophoretic
  • In-plane Electrophoretic
  • Electrokinetic
  • Liquid Powder
  • Electrochromic
  • Electrowetting
  • Electrofluidic
  • MEMS (electromechanical interference modulation)
  • Cholesteric liquid-crystal displays (Kent Displays)

Source: Review of Display Technologies Focusing on Power Consumption

Electronic paper, popularly known as e-paper, can be defined as a dynamic display technology that emulates traditional paper. As LCD, e-paper belongs to the non-emissive display category but, in this case, no backlight is needed since the ambient light from the environment is enough.

The display is composed of millions of microcapsules containing positively charged white and negatively charged black particles suspended in a clear liquid, which are capable of producing the resolution only found in print. As they are bi-stable, they only consume power while the display is being updated. The power required for the update process depends on the size of the display.

The first commercial success of monochrome e-paper devices was due to the Electrophoretics technology, wrongly referred to as electronic paper displays (EPD), whose main exponent is microencapsulated electrophoretic displays, also known as e-ink [35]. Another similar approach, microcellular electrophoretic display films (SiPix), was bought by e-ink. There are other proprietary electrophoretic displays, which include Quick-Response Liquid Powder Display (QR-LPD) by Bridgestone [36], bichromal beads [37] by Xerox (Gyricon), or reverse emulsion electrophoretic display (REED) used by Zikon Corp.

Cholesteric liquid crystal (ChLCD), already mentioned as a subgroup of LCD, is generally classified as e-paper because of its zero consumption when it is not receiving screen updates.

Source: Review of Display Technologies Focusing on Power Consumption

A next generation of flexible, color and video e-paper is currently emerging. The most promising seems to be the electro-wetting approach (EWD) [38]. Its main component, liquavista (see Figure 3b), was developed by Philips but currently belongs to Amazon. Another interesting technology based on Interferometric Modulation (IMOD) is microelectromechanical sytems (MEMS) [39], whose potential has been demonstrated through several prototypes (trademarked Mirasol [40]) developed by Qualcomm.

Some other remarkable developments are the in-plane electrophoretics (IPE) patented by Canon [41] and HP’s Electrokinetic (EKD) [42], although they are at least several years away from a general market uptake [43].

Another less matured technology is electrofluidic [44], which presents the main novelty of using a three-dimensional microfluidic device structure and offering brilliantly colored aqueous pigment dispersions. Recently, other lines of investigation have aimed to simulate traditional paper through electronic paper made from microbial cellulose [45].

Source: Biological versus electronic adaptive coloration: how can one inform the other?

Other reflective liquid-crystal displays
  • Conventional reflective polarizer-based liquid crystal
  • Transflective liquid-crystal displays
  • Electromagnetic (EMD ) displays

  • Photonic Crystals Displays (P -Ink)
  • Plasmonic Structural Colors

Other Display Technologies
  • Bistable LCDs – Reflective – Cholesteric
  • Nemoptic – BiNem/OLED dual Mode Display- Sold rights to Seiko Japan
  • ZBD Display – PM-LCD Reflective Display – Acquired by New Vision Display China
  • Fujitsu’s Color E-paper Mobile Display – FLEPia – Discontinued 2010 

Reflective Displays using Pigments

  • Electrophoretic Displays
  • Electrowetting Displays
  • Electrochromic Displays

Electrophoretic Displays – Reflective

(eReaders and Note taking/Writing Pads)

(Monochrome and Color)


  • E ink
  • E Paper
  • Yotaphone
  • E Ink Triton
  • E Ink Triton 2
  • E Ink Kaleido
  • E Ink Kaleido 2
  • Hisense
  • Pocketbook
  • Onyx Boox Poke 2
  • Onyx Max Lumi
  • Quirk logic Papyr
  • Ratta Supernote A5X
  • Onyx Note Air
  • iReader
  • Amazon Kindle
  • Etch a Sketch
  • Magna Doodle
  • Remarkable 2
  • Ricoh Whiteboard 42 inch
  • Hisense A7 CC 6.7 Inch Smartphone
  • Kobo Libra H20
  • Amazon Paperwhite
  • Amazon Oasis
  • Bigme S3 7.8 Color E-reader
  • Kobo Nia e Readers
  • Boyue Likebook
  • Pocketbook Inkpad Color
  • Onyx Boox Poke 2 Color

Electrophoretic Displays – Reflective

Source: Stretchable and reflective displays: materials, technologies and strategies

Electrophoretic Display

Source: Review Paper: A critical review of the present and future prospects for electronic paper

In-plane Electrophoretic Display

Source: Review Paper: A critical review of the present and future prospects for electronic paper

ElectroKinetic Displays

Source: Review Paper: A critical review of the present and future prospects for electronic paper

Liquid Powder Display

Source: Review Paper: A critical review of the present and future prospects for electronic paper

Companies manufacturing Reflective Displays

The key players in the global e-paper display market are

  • Displaydata Ltd. (UK) 
  • Display Innovations (UK) 
  • Kent Displays, Inc. (USA) 
  • LANCOM Systems GmbH (Germany) 
  • Liquavista B.V. (The Netherlands) 
  • Xerox Corp. (USA) 
  • Zikon, Inc. (USA)
  • Qualcomm
  • Gamma Dynamics
  • ITRI
  • InkCase Enterprise Pte Ltd
  • Plastic Logic HK Ltd
  • GDS Holding S.r.l.
  • Epson Europe Electronics GmbH
  • GDS S.p.a
  • Motion Display
  • MPicoSys Low Power Innovators
  • Omni-ID
  • Solomon Systech
  • E Ink Holdings Inc (Taiwan)
  • Sony Corporation (Japan)
  • Pervasive Display Inc (Taiwan)
  • Samsung Display Co, Ltd (South Korea)
  • LG Display Co Ltd. (South Korea)
  • Plastic Logic GmbH (Germany)
  • Cambrios Technologies Corporation (US)
  • Bridgestone Corporation (Japan)
  • Visionect (Slovenia)
  • CLEARink Displays (US)

Global E-Paper Display Market Scope and Market Size

E-paper display market is segmented on the basis of product, type, technology and end user. The growth among segments helps you analyse niche pockets of growth and strategies to approach the market and determine your core application areas and the difference in your target markets.
• E-paper display market on the basis of product has been segmented as e-readers, mobile devices, smart cards, poster & signage, auxiliary displays and electronic shelf label, and wearables.
• Based on technology, e-paper display market has been segmented into electrophoretic display, electrowetting display, cholesteric display, interferometric modular display, and others.
• On the basis of type, e-paper display market has been segmented into flat EPDs, curved EPDs, flexible EPDs, and foldable EPDs
• E-paper display has also been segmented on the basis of end user into automotive, consumer electronics, retail, healthcare and media & entertainment.

We so often eulogise about the limitless possibilities e-paper displays enable and the exciting opportunities the technology creates for market growth, differentiation and competitive advantage — but for the uninitiated reader, we thought it might be helpful in this blog to take a step back and look at how e-paper works.

E-paper goes by many names and spellings — electronic paper, ePaper, electronic ink, e ink, electrophoretic displays, EPD — but all these terms effectively describe the same thing: an electrically-charged surface that replicates the look and experience of ink on paper.

Instead of a traditional display that uses backlighting to illuminate pixels, e-paper is based on the science of “electrophoresis” — i.e. the movement of electrically charged molecules in an electric field.

In every e-paper display there are millions of tiny microcapsules containing (negatively charged) black and (positively charged) white pigments suspended in a clear fluid. This encapsulated ‘ink’ is then printed onto a plastic film and laminated on to a layer of circuitry, or — to be even more specific — a transistor matrix layer. The circuitry forms a pattern of pixels that is then controlled by a display driver (EPD controller).

When a negative electric field is applied to the ‘ink’, the white particles move to the top of the capsule making the surface appear white at that specific spot. Reverse this process and the black particles appear at the top making the surface of the capsule appear dark. The technology can also work in colour in just the same way but using a combination of different colour pigments and electric charges, or just by adding a colour filter on top of the display.

The way e-paper works differs from traditional displays in two key ways:

E-paper screens are reflective — light from the environment is reflected from the surface of the e-paper display towards the user’s eyes, just like with traditional paper. This gives e-paper a wide viewing angle that is readable in direct sunlight.
E-paper screens are bi-stable — unlike conventional backlit flat panel LCD displays, which refresh about 30 times per second and require a constant power supply to maintain content, e-paper displays will hold a static image ‘forever’, even without electricity. E-paper only consumes power when the content on it changes – for example if an e-paper shelf label in a supermarket is updated with a new price. The rest of the time the display will simply show the content you want it to, where it doesn’t draw any power until the next update.

Making e-paper flexible

Here at Plastic Logic Germany, we took e-paper one stage further and successfully industrialised a process to create glass-free backplanes, which represents the transistor matrix layer mentioned above. We are the first company worldwide able to manufacture transistor arrays on plastic. Instead of using traditional silicon transistors, our active-matrix backplane consists of organic thin film transistors (OTFTs) made from the same plastic used to for cola bottles (PET). This means we can couple a flexible backplane with a flexible display medium, such as flexible OLED or flexible electrophoretic layer, to create a fully flexible display with limitless possibilities. In addition to the flexibility, our glass-free electrophoretic displays also more robust, shatterproof and lightweight compared to glass-based displays.

If you want to know more about flexible plastic e-paper display technology’s suitability for a given use case and to get some inspiration via the applications which are already successfully showcasing the opportunities and rewards achievable through flexible e-paper innovation check out our latest flexible e-paper whitepaper.

By Plastic Logic

Flexible Displays
  • Flat
  • Curved
  • Foldable
  • Rollable
  • Printable
  • Without Glass
  • On Plastic

Electrowetting Displays (EWD)
  • LiquaVista
  • Etulipa
  • ADT

CMY Colors vs RGB Colors

Source: Current commercialization status of electrowetting-on-dielectric (EWOD) digital microfluidics

The emergence of electrowetting-on-dielectric (EWOD) in the early 2000s made the once-obscure electrowetting phenomenon practical and led to numerous activities over the last two decades. As an eloquent microscale liquid handling technology that gave birth to digital microfluidics, EWOD has served as the basis for many commercial products over two major application areas: optical, such as liquid lenses and reflective displays, and biomedical, such as DNA library preparation and molecular diagnostics. A number of research or start-up companies (e.g., Phillips Research, Varioptic, Liquavista, and Advanced Liquid Logic) led the early commercialization efforts and eventually attracted major companies from various industry sectors (e.g., Corning, Amazon, and Illumina). Although not all of the pioneering products became an instant success, the persistent growth of liquid lenses and the recent FDA approvals of biomedical analyzers proved that EWOD is a powerful tool that deserves a wider recognition and more aggressive exploration. This review presents the history around major EWOD products that hit the market to show their winding paths to commercialization and summarizes the current state of product development to peek into the future. In providing the readers with a big picture of commercializing EWOD and digital microfluidics technology, our goal is to inspire further research exploration and new entrepreneurial adventures.

Source: Stretchable and reflective displays: materials, technologies and strategies

Liquavista technology was acquired by Samsung and then later was sold to Amazon. Amazon has put it on shelves.

Source: Biological versus electronic adaptive coloration: how can one inform the other?

Electrowetting Display

Source: Review Paper: A critical review of the present and future prospects for electronic paper

ElectroFluidic Display

Source: Review Paper: A critical review of the present and future prospects for electronic paper

Electrochromic Displays

  • mECD by RICOH
  • Transprint method

Source: IllumiPaper: Illuminated Interactive Paper

In general, display technologies can be classified in pixel-addressable high-resolution displays (e.g. OLED, e-paper) and in segment displays, which highlight predefined shapes based on electrochromism (EC) [2], thermochromism (TE) [31] or electroluminescence (EL) [1, 46]. Although advanced display types, such as e-paper, have promising properties (e.g., preserving content without battery), we focus on lightweight, low-current-consuming, segment-based EL and EC displays, which are robust, inexpensive and easy to integrate with pen interaction.


Source: Stretchable and reflective displays: materials, technologies and strategies

Electrochromic Displays

Source: Review Paper: A critical review of the present and future prospects for electronic paper

This technology was formerly by Swedish company Rdot, which was co-founded by Karlsson, and bought by Ynvisible Interactive of Vancouver. The company has prototyping capabilities in Linköping, Sweden and in Almada, Portugal, roll-to-roll production in Sweden, and R&D in Freiburg, Germany.

Printed Electrochromics boldly goes where no display has gone before

Ron Mertens

This is a sponsored post by Ynvisible

Example use-case for printed electrochromics, Ynvisible
Fig.1 Example use case for printed electrochromics: a shock detector smart label with an interactive printed interface.

Expanding Need for Simple Electronic Display Functionality

Rapid advances in the miniaturization and reduction of costs in computing, electronic sensing, and communications have allowed the integration of “smart” electronic functionality into almost everything. ”Intelligence” is now embedded into a wide range of everyday objects, and spread throughout our working and living environments. Much of this intelligence, data collection and transfer is hidden from the human senses, requiring little or no human involvement. But as the number of human daily touch points and interactions with smart devices grows, so too does the importance of user experience design and the role of displays.

Conventional electronic displays cannot be economically and sustainably applied into all smart objects and environments and can often times be functionality overkill for the simple display requirements of many everyday objects. Also, user experiences built around the need for extensive use of separate reading devices, e.g. RFID or Bluetooth readers in smart phones, can be increasingly challenging especially with the high number of distractions and strong competition for attention on mobile screens. Further with a doubling of screen time over the past four years among certain user demographics, there is also a growing sense of screen fatigue leading to people “detoxing” from light emitting screens while still valuing user interfaces that are useful yet unobtrusive.

“As technology becomes ubiquitous, it also becomes invisible.“
– Kevin Kelly, Wired magazine Founding Executive Editor

When technology becomes ubiquitous, it needs to seamlessly blend into the product and our surroundings. The user experience should be effortless. As the “computing” or intelligence blends into smart objects and environments, also the displays need to become more practical: i) eliminating the need for recharging or replacing of batteries, ii) eliminating the amount of effort to access information, and iii) be inexpensive for intended purpose.

Printed Electrochromics Brings Everyday Printable Objects and Surfaces to Life

Electrochromic devices (ECD) are electrochemical cells where color changes occur upon electrochemical reactions of two or more redox active electrochromic materials electrically connected by an external circuit and physically separated by an ionic conducting layer (electrolyte layer). Electrochromic materials and devices can be controlled to change their color and opacity by the application of electrical stimuli. ECDs are a non-light emitting reflective technology. Materials for ECD manufacture can be taken into the form of printable inks and the manufacturing processes made compatible with standard graphic printing and converting processes. The resulting device can be made thin, flexible, transparent, robust, and ultra low-power. As ECDs can be produced into a wide range of different shapes and sizes, they offer a wide range of advantages for product design and integration.

Ynvisible R2R production line at Linkoping, Sweden

Fig.2 Electrochromic devices can be printed in sheet-to-sheet or roll-to-roll. 
Ynvisible Production R2R line in Linköping, Sweden.

R&D toward printed electrochromics began in the 1990s. In recent years, with strong advances in printed electronic and hybrid electronic systems, developments of ECDs have made strong technical progress into mass-manufacturability. Electrochromic displays and visual indicators are now entering markets that are considered “blue ocean” from the perspective of the electronic display industry. In these market spaces conventional printed products and surfaces now meet electronics. The over 800 billion USD per year printing industry, and particularly the industrial printing sub-sector, are welcoming printed electronic systems with high level of interest.

Things Alive

Today Ynvisible Interactive Inc. (“Ynvisible”) is leading the charge to bring printed electrochromics into market. Ynvisible was established with the vision to bring everyday objects and surfaces to life benefitting people in a smart and connected world. The company’s mission is to provide practical human interfaces to smart everyday objects and ambient intelligence.
After early explorations into different chromogenic systems the company focused on developing electrochromics into a mass producible, ultra-low power consuming visual interface technology. The company now develops and commercializes different printed electrochromic systems on film materials. By combining other printed electronic components and microelectronics into the electrochromic system, the company designs and produces interactive graphic solutions for everyday smart objects and surfaces.

Ynvisible aims to be the leading supplier of design tools, inks and quality control systems for the design and production of interactive printed graphics based on printed electrochromics and other printed electronics technologies. The company is building its technology and products platform under the ynvisible™ brand (ynvisible is a registered trademark in certain countries and territories).

Temperature label electrochromic displays, Ynvisible

Fig. 3 Electrochromic displays on a temperature label provide clear visual indication and are 
easy to implement – user friendly and available in high volumes.

Ynvisible’s primary focus is on applications in retail and logistics (where ECDs are printed onto RFID tags and RF-based smart labels), premium consumer brand products, and healthcare and wellness (in particular medical and diagnostic devices). Today the company offers a full services package to help product developers and designers get started with printed electrochromics. Ynvisible’s design, prototyping, customer training and sheet-to-sheet production services are based in Almada, Portugal. The company’s inks development and R&D services are based in Freiburg, Germany. In Linköping, Sweden the company operates a roll-to-roll production facility with extensive printing, converting, and quality control system capabilities. In addition to high volume ECD printing, the high capacity production line is utilized for printing of other printed electronic components and systems. Ynvisible sells printed electronics production upscaling services to other product owning companies.

Ynvisible Interactive Inc. is a publicly traded company, listed in the Toronto Stock Exchange Venture list [TSXV:YNV], the OTC Markets [OTCQB:YNVYF] and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange [FRA:1XNA]

Getting Started With Printed Electrochromics

To learn more about Printed Electrochromics, Ynvisible is hosting a free webinar on Apr 2, 2020 12:00-1:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada). The one hour webinar includes speakers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, NXN-IP and the University of Lapland. To register see:

Printed paper label - with NFC antenna and a printed electrochromic display, Ynvisible

Fig.4 Printed paper label with printed NFC antenna and printed electrochromic display on the same substrate.
A collaboration between Arjowiggins and Ynvisible.

Worldwide Industry for Electrochromic Materials to 2025 – Impact of COVID-19

Electrochromic Materials Market Landscape

Technology launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the electrochromic materials market. In 2019, the market of electrochromic materials has been consolidated by the top ten players accounting for 65.4% of the share. Major players in the electrochromic materials market are Gentex corporation, Saint Gobain, View, Inc., ChromoGenics, AGC, Inc., Changzhou Yapu New Materials Co. Ltd., Magna Glass and Window Company Inc., Econtrol-Glass Gmbh & Co. KG, Nikon Corporation, and Zhuhai Kaivo Optoelectronic Technology Co. Ltd. among others.

  • Electrochromic Materials
    • Metal Oxides
    • Viologens
    • Conducting Polymers
    • Prussian Blue
    • Others
  • Electrochromic Materials Market
    • Automotive Rear View Mirrors
    • Smart Glass Windows
    • Displays
    • Others

ElectroChromic Glass Markets

Region wise, the market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA. Europe was the highest revenue contributor in 2019. The presence of leading automotive manufacturers using electrochromic glass is expected to drive the growth of the market. Electrochromic glasses yield better energy savings and comfort and are increasingly used in panoramic roofing in cars. It is already being used in Mercedes-Benz SLK and SL roadsters. Similarly, in 2019, AGP Group, one of the world’s leading glazing manufacturers, opened its automotive glazing plant in Belgium for producing panoramic roofs with electrochromic glass. This trend indicates a growing market for electrochromic glasses in automotive applications.

Smartphone manufacturers are developing phones containing electrochromic glasses to increase their share in the global electrochromic glass market share. For instance, at CES 2020, Chinese phone maker, OnePlus announced Concept One phone that uses electrochromic glasses to hide its rear triple cameras, when not in use. This phone is not expected to be mass produced but it opens a new end-use for electrochromic glass in the smartphone market, which is largely dominated by countries such as China, India, and Japan. Further, China is one of the world’s largest smartphone makers.  

The major electrochromic glass manufacturers analyzed in this report include AGC Inc., ChromoGenics AB, Compagnie de Saint-Gobain S.A., Hitachi Chemical Co. Ltd., Kinestral Technologies Inc., Pleotint LLC, Polytronix Inc., Research Frontiers Inc., Smartglass International Ltd., and View Inc. To stay competitive, these market players are adopting different strategies such as product launch, partnership, merger, and acquisition. For instance, on December 2017, AGC, Kinestral Technologies Inc. and G-Tech Optoelectronics Corp. announced a joint venture that will sell, distribute, and service Halio smart glasses to the global market. The new ventures are Halio North America, Halio International, and Halio China. The joint venture helped AGC to increase its market revenue. 

Multilayered ECD by Ricoh using CMY Colors

Source: Multi-Layered Electrochromic Display

Reflective Displays based on Conventional LCD
  • Reflective LCD
  • Japan Display Inc – MIP Reflective LCD
  • Samsung – SR (Super Reflectance) LCD Technology

Types of Reflective LCDs

  • Direct View
  • Projection

Japan Display Inc.

Japan Display Inc (JDI) is an LCD technology joint venture by Sony, Toshiba, and Hitachi since 2012.

Memory-in-pixel (MIP) Reflective Color LCD

Japan Display Inc. (JDI), a leading global supplier of small- and medium-sized displays, has announced the start of sales of a standard line-up of memory-in-pixel (MIP) reflective-type color LCD modules for wristwatch-type wearable devices which realize ultra-low power consumption. Power consumption of these reflective-type LCD modules is less than 0.5%*1 that of transparent-type LCD modules.

Source: Japan Display Inc.


Emerging Display Technologies

  • MIP Reflective Color LCD for Ultra Low Power Consumption
  • Organic Electro-Luminescent (EL) display for High Contrast and Thin Structure
  • Transparent Display
  • Light field display (LFD) for 3D Definition (Holographic)
  • Micro LED display
  • Hybrid OLED and Reflective LCD

Transflective LCD Displays

Transflective LCDs combine elements of both transmissive and reflective characteristics. Ambient light passes through the LCD and hits the semi-reflective layer. Most of the light is then reflected back through the LCD. However some of the light will not be reflected and will be lost. Alternately a backlight can be used to provide the light needed to illuminate the LCD if ambient light is low. Light from the backlight passes through a semi-reflective layer and illuminates the LCD. However as with ambient lighting some of the light does not penetrate the semi-reflective layer and is lost.

Depends both on Transmission and Reflection.

Types of Transflective LCDs

Source: Fundamentals of Liquid Crystal Devices

Based on the light modulation mechanisms, transflective LCDs can be classified into four categories:

  • absorption type
  • scattering type
  • reflection type
  • phase retardation type

Color-reflective LCD based on cholesteric liquid crystals
  • Kent Displays Inc.
  • Cholesteric liquid crystal (CLC)
  • Kent State University/Deng-Ke Yang

Cholesteric liquid crystals (hereafter Ch LCs) are self-assembled systems consisting of elongated chiral organic molecules. They possess a helical structure where the local average direction of the molecules twists spatially around an orthogonal helical axis. Their refractive index varies periodically, and thus exhibits a Bragg reflection band centered at the wavelength λ = [(ne + no)/2]P and with the bandwidth Δλ = (ne – no)P, where ne and no are the extraordinary and ordinary refractive indices of the LC, respectively, and P is the helical pitch. They can be used to make reflective displays which do not need polarizers and have high reflectance.

Dr. J. William Doane is a world renowned expert in the field of liquid crystal materials and devices. Together with William Manning he co-founded Kent Displays, Inc. in 1993 and the company is now famous for its Cholesteric LCD based Boogie Board writing tablets that use Dr Doane’s inventions. Dr. Doane, was the director of the world-renowned Liquid Crystal Institute at Kent State University from 1983-1996 and led the effort during that time to establish the National Science Foundation Center for Advanced Liquid Crystalline Optical Materials (ALCOM). As an active member of the international science community, he has held visiting appointments and maintained cooperative research programs in several countries. Dr. Doane was instrumental in formalizing the International Liquid Crystal Society and served as the organization’s first treasurer from 1990-1996. Dr. Doane was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1982 and retired from the Kent State University in 1996 after a 31-year teaching and administrative career. Dr. Doane received the first ever presentation of the Slottow-Owaki Prize for Display Education, by SID.

Source: Bistable Liquid Crystal Displays

Cholesteric LCD Display

Source: Review Paper: A critical review of the present and future prospects for electronic paper

Reflective Displays Using Structural Colors

  • Interferometric Modulator Display (IMOD)
  • Photonic crystal displays (P-Ink)
  • Plasmonic Structural Colors Displays

Source: : E SKIN Displays

A wide range of reflective displays have recently been developed, and Fig. XX compares several of the most prominent. Much like color generation in animals, reflective displays can be separated into the same two main categories; pigmentation and structural color. Under the tent of pigmentation are products such as e-ink based “E-readers”, and color filter based liquid crystal displays. E-readers use the translocation of 3 charged pigmented beads, and as such, require seconds to switch between images. Due to the macroscopic size of each pixel, resolution and color reproduction are also limited. Reflective liquid crystal displays are much quicker, taking only milliseconds to switch states, but are limited in brightness as polarizers immediately halve the amplitude of the reflected light. Many structural color based displays are currently in development and have only recently entered the market. One such device is an interferometric modulator produced by Qualcomm where within each pixel, a cavity is formed between a Bragg stack and a MEMs mirror. By controlling the cavity spacing, the reflected light experiences either constructive or destructive interference resulting in a bright color or dark state. While producing the signature bright vivid colors of Bragg reflection, the device is inherently angle sensitive and limited to rigid substrates. Another emerging structural color based device uses a photonic crystal made from silica spheres submerged within an electro-active polymer, and is branded Photonic Ink (P-ink). The polymer stretches as a field is applied, increasing the period of the photonic crystal and therefore the wavelength of reflected light. Though the colors are vivid and tunable, the response time of the polymer is tens of seconds, making video impossible. Cholesteric and blue phase LC displays behave in a similar manner. Helixes of LC form periodic nanostructures which produce Bragg reflections at desired wavelengths. The LC structures can be switched through an external field thereby producing dark and light states. While producing vivid color, these devices are limited in brightness as the helical structures only reflect circular light of the same handedness of the LC. By assessing current technologies we determine there is much to understand and develop in order to truly mimic color generation in nature. A fast response, angle independent LC-metasurface based display which can actively shift the color of its pixels from RGB to black holds the promise for development of truly thin-film flexible displays.

Interferometric Modulator Display (IMOD)

(Structural Interference Colors)

  • Qualcomm Mirasol
  • MEMS Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems

MEMS Display

Source: Review Paper: A critical review of the present and future prospects for electronic paper

Source: Biological versus electronic adaptive coloration: how can one inform the other?

Photonic crystal displays (P-Ink)

(Structural Colors)

  • Opalux
  • Nanobrick

Photonic Crystals Display

Source: Review Paper: A critical review of the present and future prospects for electronic paper

Source: Review Paper: A critical review of the present and future prospects for electronic paper

Photonic crystals refer to a class of structures that consist of periodic nanostructures with a spacing that interacts with the propagation of electromagnetic waves. Based on the spacing of the nanostructures, certain energy bands are allowed or forbidden for propagation, which can lead to the selective transmission or reflection of light. Dynamically changing the spacing of the nanostructures can change these propagation properties, leading to the modulation necessary to build a display. The term photonic crystal in displays is usually associated with three-dimensional periodic lattices, and the previously described MEMS interferometry (Sec. 1) is a special one-dimensional case of a photonic crystal.

Currently, there are two different photonic-crystal- based modulation approaches in development. Opalux is fabricating electrically color-tunable photonic crystals by embedding the lattices of 200-nm-diameter silica beads within an expandable electroactive polymer, which they call Photonic Ink or P-Ink.142 Opalux has demonstrated bistable P-Ink with a reflectance >50% and switching speed ~0.1 sec.143 The company has not described the viewing-angle dependence of their technology; photonic-crystal structures that possess highly regular crystal structures can show sharp dependences on illumination and viewing angles.

The company Nanobrick is developing systems that control the inter-particle distance of SiOx-encapsulated metal nanoparticles (20–30 wt.%) in electrophoretic colloidal suspension.144 These photonic crystal structures respond to signals of a few volts, shifting the reflected color through a continuous range as the average spacing changes. This enables full-spectrum tunability using a single electro-optic layer without requiring individual primary-color subpixels to generate color. It appears that the electrophoresis tends to randomize the structure somewhat, leading to reasonably wide viewing angles. Nanobrick has demonstrated a Color Tunable Photonic Crystal Display (CPD) with angle-independent optical responses (0–40°) using quasi-amorphous photonic pixels with response time <50 msec.145

While single-layer color tuning is a unique capability of the photonic-crystal approaches, the technology focus thus far has been limited to unit pixel or simple segments and still needs refinement in terms of the white state, reflectance vs. illumination condition, and demonstration with matrix addressing. Even though, in theory, colors such as red can be displayed at all pixels, white is still challenged because white will likely require additive display of side-by-side RGB pixels [similar to Fig. 2(b)]. Additionally, since pixels currently do not possess inherent gray scale, that means gray scale at the display level will require halftoning approaches.

Source: Stretchable and reflective displays: materials, technologies and strategies

Source: Stretchable and reflective displays: materials, technologies and strategies

Source: P-Ink and Elast-Ink from lab to market

Plasmonic Structural Colors Displays

Source: Dynamic plasmonic color generation enabled by functional materials

Structural colors, well known from coloration in nature (7), can overcome these limitations. Different from dyes and pigments, structural colors are generated by the interaction of light with micro- and nanostructures. Vibrant colors can be produced with the same materials (e.g., metals or dielectrics) by changing the geometries, dimensions, or arrangements of the structures through the fabrication process or even after fabrication (8). Compared to pigment or dye-based coloration, colors created in this case are much brighter due to their inherently high scattering/absorption efficiencies. As a result, thin layers, or more precisely tiny volumes, are sufficient for brilliant coloration. The benefit of these small coloration volumes is obvious. Ultrahigh-resolution images composed of subwavelength pixels with sizes down to the smallest coloring unit, e.g., a single micro- or nanostructure, can be printed (9). In addition, structural colors do not fade over time but provide a basically everlasting coloration due to the stability of the coloring structures. These appealing advantages have attracted great interest and stimulated intensive research on various structural coloration schemes based on metal nanostructures, dielectric metasurfaces, photonic crystals, and Fabry-Perot (FP) resonances (61017).

Source: Plasmonic Color Makes a Comeback

Plasmonic color is a subset of structural color, which is color resulting when the micro- or nanostructure of a material causes light scattering and interference. One form of structural color is the iridescent blue of the Morpho butterfly’s wings, whose scales have branched nanostructures that scatter light in complex ways. In plasmonic color, the color arises from light absorption and scattering off of the nanoparticles themselves. As with other forms of structural color, size, shape, and patterning create the color rather than chemical composition.

Source: Plasmonic Color Makes a Comeback

The Naval Research Laboratory’s Fontana has a different approach to making dynamic plasmonic displays: using self- assembled colloidal gold nanorods suspended in toluene. By placing an electric field across the suspension, the nanorods align in the direction of the applied field, producing intense plasmonic color, Fontana explains. The system is fast; it can switch at least 1,000 times as quickly as a conventional liquid-crystal pixel, potentially cutting down on motion blur, which is a problem with LCD displays.

Source: Plasmonic Color Makes a Comeback

In current commercial displays, each pixel is actually made of a red, green, and blue subpixel. Different amounts of light from each subpixel mix to create the perception of any color desired. One ambition for those developing plasmonic color systems is to flip one pixel between red, green, and blue rather than needing three separate subpixels that would require less space, allowing for much smaller pixels and higher definition screens. A system that can do just that has been created in the lab of Jeremy Baumberg at the University of Cambridge. It uses gold nanoparticles coated in the conducting polymer polyaniline and sprayed onto a flexible mirrored surface. The mirrored surface amplifies the plasmonic resonance, resulting in a more intense, uniform color with no viewing-angle dependence.

The color of each pixel is tuned by the reversible oxidation and reduction of the polymer, which changes the polymer’s refractive index and shifts the system’s plasmonic resonance. Each nanoparticle can theoretically be tuned independently, providing a potential spatial resolution of less than 100 nm. So far, the researchers have created pixels that switch only between red and green, but they are working on blue. Silver or aluminum particles could potentially show blue color, but “there is always a trade- off, as silver and aluminum materials are chemically [more] unstable [than gold],” says Hyeon-Ho Jeong, who formerly worked as a postdoc with Baumberg at Cambridge and is now at Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology.

Key Terms

  • Plasmonic Metasurfaces
  • Plasmonic Nanostructures
  • Conjugated Polymers
  • Plasmons
  • Metallic Nanostructures
  • Functional Materials
  • Plasmonic Resonances
  • Liquid Crystals plus plasmonic nanostructure
  • Metal surface plasmonics
  • Nanowire waveguides
  • Meta-materials
  • Quantum dots (QDs)
  • Nano Hole Array NHA
  • Dielectric Metasurfaces
  • Tunable Color Filters
  • Metal-Insulator-Metal Resonators (MIM)
  • Sub Wavelength Grating SWG
  • Subwavelength metal–insulator–metal stack arrays
  • Nanowire Color Filter
  • Metasurface Color Filter
  • Quantum Dot Color Filter
  • Plasmonic hole array color filters

  • Debashis Chanda, a nanophotonics scientist at the University of Central Florida
  • E-skin Displays, in 2017

Source: Plasmonic Metasurfaces with Conjugated Polymers for Flexible Electronic Paper in Color

Transmissive Displays

Emmisive Displays
  • LED
  • True QLED
  • OLED
  • Mini-LED
  • Micro LED

All QLED panels are made by Samsung. QLED really is LCD panel It requires back lighting.

All OLED panels are made by LG Displays.

Please see my post on LCD and LED displays.

Transmitive Displays
  • LCD
  • AM LCD

Please see my post on LCD and LED displays.

Transmissive liquid crystal displays (LCDs) have been widely used in laptop computers, desktop monitors, and high-definition televisions (HDTVs).


Source: Review of Display Technologies Focusing on Power Consumption

In AMLCD, a switch is placed at each pixel which decouples the pixel-selection function. Thin Film Transistor (TFT), the main technology of the AMLCD subgroup, can also be divided regarding the material used for its elaboration, into amorphous silicon (a-Si), continuous grain silicon (CGS) and low temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS TFT). A new approach is the indium-gallium-zinc- oxide (IGZO) technology developed by Sharp.

Another issue to take into account is the liquid crystal alignment mode, where Twisted Nematic (TN) and Super-Twisted Nematic (STN) types are the simplest and least expensive, but offering a poor viewing angle (of approx. 45 degrees). Vertical Alignment (VA) technology generally appears under various trade names (ASV by Sharp, PVA by Samsung, etc.) and tries to improve the viewing angle of the device (for instance, Ampire VA device offers 160 degrees versus the 45 of the TN device by AUO). In-plane switching (IPS TFT), as the Hitachi module from the table shows, also has a better viewing angle than TN and the color and contrast is also improved.

My related posts

On Light, Vision, Appearance, Color and Imaging

Digital Color and Imaging

Color and Imaging in Digital Video and Cinema

Shapes and Patterns in Nature

Growth and Form in Nature: Power Laws and Fractals

On Luminescence: Fluorescence, Phosphorescence, and Bioluminescence

Color Change: In Biology and Smart Pigments Technology

Optics of Metallic and Pearlescent Colors

Nature’s Fantastical Palette: Color From Structure

Color Science of Gem Stones

Color Science and Technology in LCD and LED Displays

Key Sources of Research



A Review of Electronic Paper Display Technologies from the Standpoint of SID Symposium Digests

Tatsumi Takahashi

TCL NXTPAPER wants to compete against E INK

September 3, 2020 By Michael Kozlowski 

Review of Paper-Like Display Technologies

Peng Fei Bai1, Robert A. Hayes1, Ming Liang Jin1, Ling Ling Shui1, Zi Chuan Yi1, L. Wang1, Xiao Zhang1, and Guo Fu Zhou1, 2

Progress In Electromagnetics Research, Vol. 147, 95–116, 2014

Stretchable and reflective displays: materials, technologies and strategies

Nano Convergence volume 6, Article number: 21 (2019)

Review Paper: A critical review of the present and future prospects for electronic paper

Jason Heikenfeld (SID Senior Member) Paul Drzaic (SID Fellow)
Jong-Souk Yeo (SID Member)
Tim Koch (SID Member)

Journal of the SID 19/2, 2011

Electrowetting-Based Displays: Bringing Microfluidics Alive On-Screen

B. J. Feenstra1, R. A. Hayes, R. van Dijk, R. G. H. Boom, M. M. H. Wagemans, I. G. J. Camps, A. Gi- raldo and B. v.d. Heijden
Philips Research Laboratories, Prof. Holstlaan 4, 5656 AA, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Biological versus electronic adaptive coloration: how can one inform the other?

Eric Kreit1, Lydia M. Ma ̈thger2, Roger T. Hanlon2, Patrick B. Dennis3, Rajesh R. Naik3, Eric Forsythe4 and Jason Heikenfeld1

J R Soc Interface 10: 20120601.

Transmissive/Reflective Structural Color Filters: Theory and Applications

Yan Yu,1,2 Long Wen,2 Shichao Song,2 and Qin Chen

Volume 2014 |Article ID 212637 |

Interferometric modulator display

Qualcomm resurrects Mirasol reflective displays with new 576 ppi smartphone panel

Iridescence-controlled and flexibly tunable retroreflective structural color film for smart displays

  • Wen Fan
  • Jing Zeng
  • Qiaoqiang Gan
  • Dengxin Ji
  • Haomin Song
  • Wenzhe Liu
  • Lei Shi
  • Limin Wu

Science Advances  09 Aug 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 8, eaaw8755
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw8755

Artificial Structural Color Pixels: A Review 

by Yuqian Zhao 1Yong Zhao 1,*Sheng Hu 1Jiangtao Lv 1Yu Ying 2Gediminas Gervinskas 3 and Guangyuan Si 

Materials 201710(8), 944;

Dynamically Tunable Plasmonic Structural Color

Daniel Franklin
University of Central Florida 2018

PHD Thesis;context=etd

Colors with plasmonic nanostructures: A full-spectrum review 

Applied Physics Reviews 6, 041308 (2019);

Dynamic plasmonic color generation enabled by functional materials

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Bright and Vivid Diffractive–Plasmonic Reflective Filters for Color Generation

  • Emerson G. Melo, 
  • Ana L. A. Ribeiro, 
  • Rodrigo S. Benevides, 
  • Antonio A. G. V. Zuben, 
  • Marcos V. Puydinger dos Santos, 
  • Alexandre A. Silva, 
  • Gustavo S. Wiederhecker, and 
  • Thiago P. M. Alegre*

ACS Appl. Nano Mater. 2020, 3, 2, 1111–1117Publication Date:December 31, 2019

Active control of plasmonic colors: emerging display technologies

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Rep Prog Phys. 2019 Feb;82(2):024501.

doi: 10.1088/1361-6633/aaf844.

Self-assembled plasmonics for angle-independent structural color displays with actively addressed black states

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Bio-inspired intelligent structural color materials

Luoran Shang, Weixia Zhang, Ke Xuc and Yuanjin Zhao

Mater. Horiz., 2019,6, 945-958!divAbstract

Advanced Plasmonic Materials for Dynamic Color Display

DOI: 10.1002/adma.201704338

Polarization-independent actively tunable colour generation on imprinted plasmonic surfaces

Nature Communications volume 6, Article number: 7337 (2015)

Tunable plasmonic color filter 

Rosanna Mastria, Karl Jonas Riisnaes, Monica Craciun, and Saverio Russo

Frontiers in Optics / Laser Science OSA Technical Digest (Optical Society of America, 2020),paper JTh4B.7•

Reflective Display Technology

Samsung 2017

Modeling of Oil/Water Interfacial Dynamics in Three-Dimensional Bistable Electrowetting Display Pixels

Guisong Yang, Lei Zhuang, Pengfei Bai,* Biao Tang, Alex Henzen, and Guofu Zhou

CS Omega 2020, 5, 10, 5326–5333Publication Date:March 3, 2020

The E-Paper Revolution Has Begun

Mon, September 09, 2019

Global E-Paper Display Market Growth Prospects, Key Vendors, Future Scenario Forecast To 2027 | CLEARink Displays, Inc., E Ink Holdings Inc


e-Paper Display Markets 2016-2024: e-Readers, Signage/Poster Devices, Mobile Phones, & Others – Global Analysis, Trends, and Forecasts Report 2019


Worldwide E-Paper Display Market Share, Growth, Statistics, by Application, Production, Revenue & Forecast up to 2027

Clearink Displays

What Happened to Liquavista Electrowetting Display?

Etulipa brings its electrowetting display off-the-grid

23 October 2019

How Electronic Ink Was Invented

OLED vs. LED: Which kind of TV display is better?

By Michael Bizzaco Simon Cohen and Tyler LacomaJanuary 21, 2021


11 Myths About E-paper Displays

Good E

DKE E PAPER Manufacturer


Pervasive Displays

World’s Largest ePaper E Ink Sign Unveiled at UN Headquarters


Plastic Logic

E Paper Displays Explained

E Ink, Innolux deliver 28-inch ePaper

E Ink and Plastic Logic Partner to Provide the World’s First Flexible Advanced Color ePaper (ACeP™)-Based Display’s-First-Flexible-Advanced-Color-ePaper-ACeP™–Based-Display

Ossia, E-PEAS, and E Ink Debut E-Paper Electronic Shelf Label Powered by Wireless Energy Harvesting

July 28, 2019 by Scott McMahan


Visionect and E Ink Launch Prototyping System for Developing Large-Format ePaper Signs

Electronic Ink

E -Ink

Invited Paper: TFT Technologies for Flexible Displays

Jin Jang Min Hee Choi Jun Hyuk Cheon

First published: 05 July 2012

A Review In Preparation of Electronic Ink for Electrophoretic Displays

S.KholghiEshkalak*, M.Khatibzadeh


Vol.3 No2,02 NAESF06 (5pp)(2014)

Flexible Electronics Development in Taiwan

Dr. Janglin (John) Chen
Vice President & General Director Display Technology Center



TFT Technology for Flexible Display Applications

Chang-Dong Kim, In Byeong Kang, and In-Jae Chung

LCD R&D Center, LG.Philips LCD, 533, Hogae-dong, Dongan-gu, Anyang-shi, Kyoungki-do, 431-080, KOREA

Progress and Challenges in Commercialization of Organic Electronics

Yueh-Lin Loo and Iain McCulloch, Guest Editors


Evaluating Display Reflections in Reflective Displays and Beyond

Active Matrix Electrophoretic E-Book Display

Guofu Zhouand Mark Johnson
Philips Research, High Tech Campus, Building 34, Eindhoven 5656 AE, The Netherlands

Karl Amundson and Robert W Zehner
E Ink Corporation, 733 Concord Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA

Alex Henzen and Jan van de Kamer
IRex Technologies BV, High Tech Campus, Building 46, Eindhoven 5656 AE, The Netherlands

Inkjet-printed polymer-based electrochromic and electrofluorochromic dual-mode displays†

Manuel Pietsch, Tobias Rödlmeier, Stefan Schlisske

Johannes Zimmermann, Carlos Romero-Nieto and Gerardo Hernandez-Sosa

J. Mater. Chem. C, 2019, 7, 7121

Invited Paper: International Standards Development of Electronic Paper Displays

Tatsumi Takahashi

First published: 29 May 2019

SID Volume50, Issue1
June 2019
Pages 398-401

Dyed Polymeric Microparticles for Colour Rendering in Electrophoretic Displays

Mark Goulding, Louise Farrand, Ashley Smith, Nils Greinert, Henry Wilson, Claire Topping, Roger Kemp, Emily Markham, Mark James, Johannes Canisius, Dan Walker
Merck Chemicals Ltd., Advanced Technologies, Chilworth Technical Centre, University Parkway, Southampton, Hampshire, SO16 7QD, UK

Richard Vidal, Sihame Khoukh

Merck Chimie, Center Production ESTAPOR, Zone Industrielle, Rue du Moulin de la Canne, 45 300 Pithiviers, France.

Seung-Eun Lee, Hee-Kyu Lee

Merck Advanced Technologies, Poseung Technical Center, 1173-2 Wonjyung-ri, Poseung-myun, Pyungtaek-si, Kyungki-do, Korea

E-paper Display (EPD) Market Size 2020-2024 Industry News Analysis, Upstream Raw Material Suppliers, Major Players and Product Types


E Ink Holdings, electronic ink technology, and Fujitsu Semiconductor have developed a reference design board for battery-less ePaper tags using E Ink’s ePaper and Fujitsu’s UHF (Ultra High Frequency) band.

Printing Technologies for Organic TFT Array for Electronic Paper

Ryohei Matsubara, Yukari Harada, Kaoru Hatta,

Takumi Yamamoto, Manabu Takei, Mamoru Ishizaki,

Mitsuyoshi Matsumura, Kenich Ota, and Manabu Ito

Display Research Laboratory, Technical Research Institute, Toppan Printing Co., Ltd., Saitama, Japan

CYM and RGB colored electronic inks based on silica-coated organic pigments for full-color electrophoretic displays 

Peipei Yin,aGang Wu,*aWenlong Qin,aXiaoqiang Chen,aMang Wanga  and  Hongzheng Chen*a!divAbstract

Hisense A7CC 5G smartphone integrates a 6.7-inch color E-Ink display

Bistable electrowetting displays

Karlheinz Blankenbach

Juergen Rawert

January 2011
DOI: 10.1117/2.1201012.003407

Current commercialization status of electrowetting-on-dielectric (EWOD) digital microfluidics

Jia Li and Chang-Jin “CJ” Kim

Lab Chip, 2020,20, 1705-1712!divAbstract

The complete history of E INK Color E-Paper

November 22, 2020 

A Short History of E-Paper and the eReader Revolution

August 11, 2017 By Michael Kozlowski

A Short History of E-Ink: How E Ink managed to become the last man standing and dominated the e-reader revolution!

by Michael Kozlowski



Electrochromic Plasmonic Metasurfaces for Reflective Displays 

By Kunli Xiong


Switching Colors with Electricity


MicroLED vs OLED: the battle of the high-end display tech

Can the next-gen TV tech microLED beat out OLED?

OLED vs QLED: the premium TV panel technologies compared

LG’s new ‘QNED’ TVs will have up to nearly 30,000 tiny LEDs behind the screen

The Verge

Performance of reflective color displays in Out Of Home applications


Plasmonic Color Makes a Comeback

ACS Cent. Sci. 2020, 6, 332−335

Structural Colors for Display and E-paper Applications

L. Jay Guo

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA;jsessionid=4ECB722ACF8896CFECA475935B750BD0?sequence=1

Stretchable and reflective displays: materials, technologies and strategies

Nano Convergence volume 6, Article number: 21 (2019)

Transmissive/Reflective structural color filters: theory and applications

Journal of Nanomaterials January 2014 Article No.: 6

Plasmonic Metasurfaces with Conjugated Polymers for Flexible Electronic Paper in Color

Kunli Xiong, Gustav Emilsson, Ali Maziz, Xinxin Yang, Lei Shao, Edwin W. H. Jager and Andreas B. Dahlin.

Reflective–emissive photoluminescent cholesteric liquid crystal display

Jang-Kyum Kim, Suk-Hwan Joo, and Jang-Kun Song

Applied OpticsVol. 52,Issue 34,pp. 8280-8286(2013)

Mobile Displays: Technology and Applications

edited by Achintya K. Bhowmik, Zili Li, Philip J. Bos


Reflective cholesteric liquid crystal displays

D.-K. Yang Kent State Univ

in Mobile Displays,

Reflective and Transflective Liquid Crystal Displays

  • September 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9781118751992.ch9

  • In book: Fundamentals of Liquid Crystal Devices, Second Edition (pp.285-319)

Deng‐Ke Yang
Shin-Tson Wu

Full-color reflective display based on narrow bandwidth templated cholesteric liquid crystal film

DOI: 10.1364/OME.7.000016

Electrophoretic liquid crystal displays: How far are we?

Susanne Klein

HP Laboratories HPL-2013-23

How Liquid Crystal Displays Work in an eWriter

By Monica Kanojia May 04, 2012

Dynamic plasmonic color generation enabled by functional materials

  1. Frank Neubrech
  2. Xiaoyang Duan
  3. Na Liu

Science Advances  04 Sep 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 36, eabc2709
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc2709

Reflective Liquid Crystal Displays

Shin-Tson Wu, Hughes Research Laboratories
Deng-ke Yang, Kent State University

The evolution of portable communications applications has been facilitated largely by the development of reflective LCD technology. Offering a unique insight into state-of-the art display technologies, Reflective Liquid Crystal Displays covers the basic operations principles, exemplary device structures and fundamental material properties of device components.


  • Direct-view, projection and micro (virtual projection) reflective displays in the context of multi-media projectors, mobile internet and personal entertainment displays.
  • Optimization of critical display attributes: fast response time, low voltage operation and wide angle viewing.
  • Description of the basic properties of liquid crystal materials and their incorporation into configurations for transmissive and reflective applications.
  • Examination of the various operations modes enabling the reader to select the appropriate display type to meet a variety of needs.
  • Overview and comparison of the complete range of reflective display technologies, and reflective LCD effects.

Product Demographics
Author:    Shin-Tson Wu, Deng-Ke Yang
Publisher:    John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Date of Publication:    04/01/2001
ISBN Number:    0-471-49611-1
Format:    Hardback
Pages:    352

Reflective liquid crystal display with fast response time and wide viewing angle

Xiao-Qing GuaFan ChuaLi-Lan TianaRui LiaWen-Yi HouaXiang-Yu Zhoua Qiong-HuaWang

Received 29 August 2019, Revised 5 November 2019, Accepted 16 November 2019, Available online 20 November 2019.

Optics Communications. Volume 459, 15 March 2020, 124970

RDot AB ElectroChromic Displays

Review of nanostructure color filters Felix Gildas and Yaping Dan*

University of Michigan–Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute, Shanghai, China

J. Nanophoton. 13(2), 020901 (2019), doi: 10.1117/1.JNP.13.020901.

Nanostructured Color Filters: A Review of Recent Developments

Ayesha Shaukat 1,2 , Frazer Noble and Khalid Mahmood Arif 1,*

Received: 21 June 2020; Accepted: 23 July 2020; Published: 7 August 2020

Liquid-crystal tunable color filters based on aluminum metasurfaces

Zu-Wen Xie, Jhen-Hong Yang, Vishal Vashistha, Wei Lee, and Kuo-Ping Chen

 Optics Express > Volume 25 > Issue 24 > Page 30764

Structural Colors: From Plasmonic to Carbon Nanostructures

Ting XuHaofei ShiYi‐Kuei WuAlex F. KaplanJong G. OkL. Jay Guo

First published: 20 September 2011 

Small, 7, 3128 (2011)

A New Full Color Reflective Display Based on Cholesteric Liquid Crystals

Reflective Display Technology 

22 Dec 2017 Samsung

Electrochromic Displays

Kobayashi N. (2015)

In: Chen J., Cranton W., Fihn M. (eds) Handbook of Visual Display Technology. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Transparent inorganic multicolour displays enabled by zinc-based electrochromic devices

Light: Science & Applicationsvolume 9, Article number: 121 (2020)

Electrochromic Device

What is an Electrochromic Display?


Rollable and transparent subpixelated electrochromic displays using deformable nanowire electrodes with improved electrochemical and mechanical stability


Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Yonsei University, 50 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul 03722, Republic of Korea

Received 22 November 2019, Revised 26 December 2019, Accepted 15 January 2020, Available online 18 January 2020.

Performance studies of electrochromic displays

Proceedings Volume 9258, Advanced Topics in Optoelectronics, Microelectronics, and Nanotechnologies VII; 925833 (2015)

Flexible and Transparent Electrochromic Displays with Simultaneously Implementable Subpixelated Ion Gel‐Based Viologens by Multiple Patterning

Jong‐Woo KimJae‐Min Myoung

First published: 04 February 2019

Greyscale and Paper Electrochromic Polymer Displays by UV Patterning 

by Robert Brooke 1,2Jesper Edberg 1,2Xavier Crispin 1Magnus Berggren 1Isak Engquist 1 and Magnus P. Jonsson 1,*1

Laboratory of Organic Electronics, Department of Science and Technology, Linkoping University, SE-601 74 Norrkoping, Sweden2RISE Acreo, ICT Department, Printed Electronics, Research Institutes of Sweden, Acreo, 601 17 Norrkoping, Sweden

 Polymers201911(2), 267;

Printed Electrochromics boldly goes where no display has gone before

Ron Mertens

Multi-Layered Electrochromic Display

Yoshihisa Naijoh, Tohru Yashiro, Shigenobu Hirano, Yoshinori Okada, SukChan Kim, Kazuaki Tsuji, Hiroyuki Takahashi, Koh Fujimura, Hitoshi Kondoh

RICOH Company, Ltd., Research and Development Group, 16-1 Shinei-cho, Tsuzuki-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, Japan

High Resolution Technology for Multi-Layered Electrochromic Display

Yoshinori Okada, Tohru Yashiro, Yoshihisa Naijoh, Shigenobu Hirano, SukChan Kim, Kazuaki Tsuji, Hiroyuki Takahashi, Koh Fujimura, Hitoshi Kondoh

RICOH Company, Ltd., Research and Development Group, 16-1 Shinei-cho, Tsuzuki-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan

Flexible Electrochromic Display

Tohru Yashiro, Yoshinori Okada, Yoshihisa Naijoh, Shigenobu Hirano, Toshiya Sagisaka, Daisuke Gotoh, Mamiko Inoue, SukChan Kim, Kazuaki Tsuji, Hiroyuki Takahashi, and Koh Fujimura

RICOH Company, Ltd., Research and Development Group, 16-1 Shinei-cho, Tsuzuki-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan

5.3: Novel Design for Color Electrochromic Display

Tohru Yashiro, Shigenobu Hirano, Yoshihisa Naijoh, Yoshinori Okada, Kazuaki Tsuji, Mikiko Abe, Akishige Murakami, Hiroyuki Takahashi, Koh Fujimura, Hitoshi Kondoh

Ricoh Company, Ltd.Research and Development Group 16-1 Shinei-cho, Tsuzuki-ku Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan

Electrokinetic pixels with biprimary inks for color displays and color-temperature-tunable smart windows


1Department of Electrical Engineering and Computing Systems, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio 45221, USA 2Merck Chemicals Ltd., Chilworth Technical Centre, Southampton, Hampshire SO16 7QD, UK
3Institute of Applied Mechanics, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan
*Corresponding author:

Received 11 March 2015; revised 5 May 2015; accepted 11 May 2015; posted 18 May 2015 (Doc. ID 235176); published 10 June 2015

Vol. 54, No. 17 / June 10 2015 / Applied Optics

TransPrint: A Method for Fabricating Flexible Transparent Free-Form Displays

Walther Jensen,1 Ashley Colley,2 Jonna Häkkilä,2 Carlos Pinheiro,3 and Markus Löchtefeld1

1Aalborg University, 9000 Aalborg, Denmark

2University of Lapland, 96300 Rovaniemi, Finland

3Ynvisible Interactive Inc., 2820-690 Charneca da Caparica, Portugal

Advances in Human-Computer Interaction, vol. 2019, Article ID 1340182, 14 pages,2019.

IllumiPaper: Illuminated Interactive Paper

Konstantin Klamka, Raimund Dachselt

Interactive Media Lab Dresden Technische Universita ̈t Dresden, Germany {klamka, dachselt}

Electrofluidic Imaging Films for Brighter, Faster, and Lower‐Cost e‐Paper

Matthew Hagedon Jason Heikenfeld Kenneth A. Dean Eric Kreit Kaichang Zhou John Rudolph

First published: 01 July 2013


Volume44, Issue1 June 2013 Pages 111-114

The Biprimary Color System for E‐Paper: Doubling Color Performance Compared to RGBW

Sayantika Mukherjee Jason Heikenfeld Nathan Smith Mark Goulding Claire Topping Sarah Norman Qin Liu Laura Kramer

Volume45, Issue1 San Diego, CA, June 1–6, 2014
June 2014 Pages 869-872. First published: 07 July 2014

Fundamentals and Applications of Large Area Multi-spectral state Electrophoretic Panels for Displays and Smart Windows

PhD Thesis 2015

Sayantika Mukherjee

Printed Multi-color Devices using Oxidative Electrochromic Materials

Daisuke Goto*, Satoshi Yamamoto, Toshiya Sagisaka, Masato Shinoda, Fuminari Kaneko, Keiichiro Yutani, Keigo Takauji, Yoshinori Okada, and Tohru Yashiro

Ricoh Institute of Future Technology, Ricoh Co., Ltd.
16-1 Shinei-cho, Tsuduki-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 224-0035, Japan


Journal of Photopolymer Science and Technology

Volume 30, Number 4 (2017) 489-493

Novel organic multi-color electrochromic device for e-paper application

Authors: Kobayashi, Norihisa; Yukikawa, Masahiro; Liang, Zhuang; Nakamura, Kazuki
Source: NIP & Digital Fabrication Conference, Volume 2017, Number 1, November 2017, pp. 111-114(4)
Publisher: Society for Imaging Science and Technology

Scalable electrochromic nanopixels using plasmonics

  1. Jialong Peng
  2. Hyeon-Ho Jeong
  3. Qianqi Lin
  4. Sean Cormier1
  5. Hsin-Ling Liang2
  6. Michael F. L. De Volder2
  7. Silvia Vignolini3 and 
  8. Jeremy J. Baumberg1,
  1. 1NanoPhotonics Centre, Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB3 0HE, UK.
  2. 2NanoManufacturing Group, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB3 0FS, UK.
  3. 3Bio-inspired Photonics Group, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1EW, UK.

Science Advances  10 May 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 5, eaaw2205
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw2205

Electrochromic display

Innoscentia adopts Ynvisible displays for dynamic food labels

Low energy switching driver for printed electrochromic displays

Ciprian Ionescu, Robert Alexandru Dobre

Proceedings Volume 10010, Advanced Topics in Optoelectronics, Microelectronics, and Nanotechnologies VIII; 100100I (2016)

Event: Advanced Topics in Optoelectronics, Microelectronics, and Nanotechnologies 2016, 2016, Constanta, Romania

Electrochromic materials and devices: present and future 

Prakash R. Somani a,∗, S. Radhakrishnan b

Photonics and Advanced Materials Laboratory, Centre for Materials for Electronics Technology (C-MET), Panchawati, Off Pashan Road, Pune 411008, India
National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Polymer Science and Chemical Engineering, Pune 411008, India

Received 17 May 2001; received in revised form 10 September 2001; accepted 26 September 2001

Materials Chemistry and Physics 77 (2002) 117–133

A high speed electrically switching reflective structural color display with large color gamut

Wenqiang Wang,aZhiqiang Guan *a  and  Hongxing Xu*ab

Nanoscale, 2021,13, 1164-1171!divAbstract

Mechanochromism in Structurally Colored Polymeric Materials

Jess M. Clough,* Christoph Weder, and Stephen Schrettl

Macromol. Rapid Commun. 202142, 2000528

Transparent inorganic multicolour displays enabled by zinc-based electrochromic devices

by Light Publishing Center, Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics And Physics, Chinese Academy

Transparent inorganic multicolour displays enabled by zinc-based electrochromic devices

Light: Science & Applications volume 9, Article number: 121 (2020)

The Rdot Display

Flexible displays for smart clothing: Part II— Electrochromic displays

Ludivine MeunierFern M. Kelly,  V. Koncar

Published 2011—-Meunier-Kelly/416ae224096d852d4e804f023344cfd77f8a0955

Electrochromic displays

The new black

Nature Materials volume 7, pages766–767(2008)

Intrinsically stretchable polymer based electrochromic devices for soft electronic displays

Preston, Garth Eden Claire

2020 PhD Thesis UBC, Canada

TiO2 Nanostructured Films for Electrochromic Paper Based-Devices

by Daniela Nunes , Tomas Freire, Andrea Barranger 1, João Vieira 1, Mariana Matias 1, Sonia Pereira 1, Ana Pimentel 1, Neusmar J. A. Cordeiro 1,2, Elvira Fortunato 1 and Rodrigo Martins 1,

Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(4), 1200;

Printable All‐Organic Electrochromic Active‐Matrix Displays

P. Andersson R. Forchheimer P. Tehrani M. Berggren
First published: 31 August 2007

Advanced Functional Materials Volume17, Issue16
November, 2007
Pages 3074-3082

Development and Manufacture of Polymer‐Based Electrochromic Devices

Jacob Jensen Markus Hösel Aubrey L. Dyer Frederik C. Krebs

Advanced Functional Materials Volume25, Issue14
April 8, 2015
Pages 2073-2090

First published: 26 February 2015

In-Glass Display Applications


Greyscale and Paper Electrochromic Polymer Displays by UV Patterning 

by Robert Brooke 1,2Jesper Edberg 1,2Xavier Crispin 1Magnus Berggren 1Isak Engquist 1 and Magnus P. Jonsson 1,*1

Laboratory of Organic Electronics, Department of Science and Technology, Linkoping University, SE-601 74 Norrkoping, Sweden2

RISE Acreo, ICT Department, Printed Electronics, Research Institutes of Sweden, Acreo, 601 17 Norrkoping, Sweden


Polymers 201911(2), 267;


Novel Color-Sequential Transflective Liquid Crystal Displays 

Ju-Hyun Lee, Xinyu Zhu, and Shin-Tson Wu, Fellow, IEEE


Control of Reflectivity and Bistability in Displays Using Cholesteric Liquid-Crystals

Deng-Ke Yang

Kent State University – Kent Campus

John L. West

Kent State University – Kent Campus

Liang-Chy Chien
Kent State University – Kent Campus,

J. William Doane

Kent State University – Kent Campus


Journal of Applied Physics 76(2), 1331-1333. doi: 10.1063/1.358518

A Polymer-Stabilized Single-Layer Color Cholesteric Liquid Crystal Display with Anisotropic Reflection. 

Lu, Shin-Ying and Chien, Liang-Chy (2007).

Applied Physics Letters 91(13). doi: 10.1063/1.2790499

Electrofluidic Imaging Films for Brighter, Faster, and Lower‐Cost e‐Paper

Matthew HagedonJason HeikenfeldKenneth A. DeanEric KreitKaichang ZhouJohn Rudolph

First published: 01 July 2013

SID Digest Volume44, Issue1
June 2013
Pages 111-114


Inventors:Deng-KeYang, Hudson; Ruiqing Ma, Kent, both of Ohio

Asigne:Kent State University, Kent, Ohio

Patent Number: 5,847,798

Date of Patent: Dec.8,1998


Inventors:Deng-KeYang, Stow,Ohio;

Zhijian Lu,Yorktown Heights, N.Y.;

J.William Doane, Kent, Ohio

Assignee: Kent State University, Kent, Ohio

Patent Number: 6,061,107

Date of Patent: May9,2000


Inventors: Louis D.Silverstein, Scotsdale, Ariz.,

Thomas G. Fiske, Campbell, Calif.;

Greg P. Crawford, Providence, R.I.

Assignee: Xerox Corporation, Stamford, Conn.

Patent Number: 6,133,971

Date of Patent: Oct.17,2000

Japan Display shows low-power reflective LCD that does color, video

Japan Display Introduces Paper-like Color Reflective LCD

Overview on reflective liquid crystal displays using one polarizer

Shin-Tson Wu

Proceedings Volume 3421, Display Technologies II; (1998)
Event: Asia Pacific Symposium on Optoelectronics ’98, 1998, Taipei, Taiwan

Reflective Liquid-Crystal Displays

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 January 2011

Tatsuo Uchida  and Takahiro Ishinabe

MRS Bulletin , Volume 27 , Issue 11: Advanced Flat-Panel Displays and Materials , November 2002 , pp. 876 – 879


Reflective Liquid Crystal Displays

Shin-Tson Wu, Hughes Research Laboratories
Deng-ke Yang, Kent State University

The evolution of portable communications applications has been facilitated largely by the development of reflective LCD technology. Offering a unique insight into state-of-the art display technologies, Reflective Liquid Crystal Displays covers the basic operations principles, exemplary device structures and fundamental material properties of device components.

Display engineers, scientists and technicians active in the field will welcome this unique resource, as will developers of a wide range of systems and applications. Graduate students and researchers will appreciated the introduction and technical insight into this exciting technology.


  • Direct-view, projection and micro (virtual projection) reflective displays in the context of multi-media projectors, mobile internet and personal entertainment displays.
  • Optimization of critical display attributes: fast response time, low voltage operation and wide angle viewing.
  • Description of the basic properties of liquid crystal materials and their incorporation into configurations for transmissive and reflective applications.
  • Examination of the various operations modes enabling the reader to select the appropriate display type to meet a variety of needs.
  • Overview and comparison of the complete range of reflective display technologies, and reflective LCD effects.

Author:    Shin-Tson Wu, Deng-Ke Yang
Publisher:    John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Date of Publication:    04/01/2001
ISBN Number:    0-471-49611-1
Format:    Hardback
Pages:    352

Reflective liquid crystal display with fast response time and wide viewing angle


Optics Communications
Volume 459, 15 March 2020, 124970


Inventors:Jong Weon Moon, Seoul (KR);Yong Beom Kim, Seoul (KR)


July 2002

What LCD Modes Mean: Reflective, Transmissive, Transflective

March 14, 2017

Reflective Liquid Crystal Displays: The Next Major Paradigm Shift in Display Technology

Gregory P. Crawford Brown University, Providence, RI

Power generating reflective-type liquid crystal displays using a reflective polariser and a polymer solar cell. 

Ho Huh, Y. and Park, B.

Sci. Rep. 5, 11558; doi: 10.1038/srep11558 (2015).

Achromatic Dye-type Polarizer for Paper White Reflective Liquid Crystal Displays

ITE Trans. on MTA Vol. 6, No. 4, pp. 262-268 (2018)

Noriaki Mochizuki†1, Takahiro Ishinabe†2 (member), Daichi Fujiwara†3, Daisuke Nakamura†3, Norio Koma†3, Hideo Fujikake†2 (member)

Types of LCD Displays

Reflective LCD Display:

Color OLED/reflective LCD hybrid display can be easily seen in full sunlight

Display demoed at SID 2016 is suitable in size for a cell phone.

Jun 27th, 2016

Reflective LCD Display

Sun Vision Display

FLEx Lighting Sets Out to Transform Reflective LCD

Reflective liquid crystal display using cholesteric polymers

US-0883021 (2001-06-15)

JDI Reflective Display is For Digital Signage

Japan Display Inc. to start mass production of ultra-low power consumption Memory-In-Pixel reflective-type LCD module

Posted By itersnews On January 13, 2014


Reflective liquid-crystal displays with asymmetric incident and exit angles

Zhibing Ge, Thomas X. Wu, Xinyu Zhu, and Shin-Tson Wu

Journal of the Optical Society of America A Vol. 22, Issue 5, pp. 966-977 (2005) •

Analyses and Improvements of Whiteness of Reflective Liquid Crystal Displays

Yi-Pai Huang1, Liang-San Chu1 and Han-Ping D. Shieh1

Published 9 September 2004 • Copyright (c) 2004 The Japan Society of Applied Physics
Japanese Journal of Applied PhysicsVolume 43Number 9R

Citation Yi-Pai Huang et al 2004 Jpn. J. Appl. Phys. 43 6162

Reflective liquid-crystal display using an in-plane-switching super-twisted nematic cell

Y. SunHong-mei Ma, +1 author S. Wu

Published 2002

Journal of Applied Physics

Color Reflective Display Technology


Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) Modes


Review of Display Technologies Focusing on Power Consumption

María Rodríguez Fernández 1,†, Eduardo Zalama Casanova 2,* and Ignacio González Alonso 3,†

Sustainability 2015, 7, 10854-10875; doi:10.3390/su70810854

Fujitsu Dramatically Enhances Color Electronic Paper Functionality

What are ZBD LCDs?

December 19, 2019

New Vision Display Acquires ZBD LCD Technology and Malvern, UK Facility

Large Area, High Resolution Portable ZBD Display

DOI: 10.1889/1.1830238

Nemoptic OLED/BiNem combo display gets video demo

Chris Davies – Oct 11, 2010, 4:12am CDT

Bistable Reflective LCDs

Bistable Liquid Crystal Displays

  • January 2016
  • Cliff Jones

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-14346-0_92

The Zenithal Bistable Display: From concept to consumer

DOI: 10.1889/1.2835021

A Nematic-Cholesteric Bistable Liquid Crystal Display For Projectors

A. MochizukiM. IwasakiY. YamagishiH. GondoH. Yamaguchi

Global Bistable LCD Market: Industry Analysis 2013-2018 and Opportunity Assessment 2018-2023

CLEARink Displays

Recent Trend of Display Devices

Fumiaki Funada*1 Masaya Hijikigawa*2


Electrofluidic Displays: Multi-stability and Display Technology Progress

Kenneth A. Dean, Kaichang Zhou, Steve Smith, Brian Brollier, Hari Atkuri and John Rudolph
Gamma Dynamics, Cincinnati, OH 45229, U.S.A.

Shu Yang, Stephanie Chevalliot, Eric Kreit, and Jason Heikenfeld

Novel Devices Lab, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221, U.S.A.

Photonic-crystal full-colour displays


1Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, 80 St George Street, Toronto M5S 3H6, Canada 2Opalux Incorporated, 80 St George Street, Toronto M5S 3H6, Canada
3School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, Cantock’s Close, Bristol BS8 1TS, UK

nature photonics | VOL 1 | AUGUST 2007 |

P-Ink displays: Flexible, low power, reflective color

Andre C ArsenaultHai WangEric HendersonFergal KerinsUlrich KampLeonardo Da Silva BonifacioPak Hin LawGeoffrey A. Ozin

Proceedings Volume 8613, Advanced Fabrication Technologies for Micro/Nano Optics and Photonics VI; 86130R (2013)
Event: SPIE MOEMS-MEMS, 2013, San Francisco, California, United States

P-Ink and Elast-Ink from lab to market

Geoffrey A.OzinaAndre C.Arsenaultba

Center for Inorganic and Polymeric Nanomaterials, Chemistry Department, University of Toronto, 80 St George Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S3H6b

Opalux Incorporated, 80 St George Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 3H6

Materials Today Volume 11, Issues 7–8, July–August 2008, Pages 44-51

A Polychromic, Fast Response Metallopolymer Gel Photonic Crystal with Solvent and Redox Tunability: A Step Towards Photonic Ink (P‐Ink)

A.C. Arsenault. H. Míguez V. Kitaev G.A. Ozin I. Manners

First published: 20 March 2003



ESKIN Displays

Structural Colors: From Plasmonic to Carbon Nanostructures

Ting Xu, Haofei Shi, Yi-Kuei Wu, Alex F. Kaplan, Jong G. Ok, and L. Jay Guo

Liquid-crystal tunable color filters based on aluminum metasurfaces


1Institute of Lighting and Energy Photonics, National Chiao Tung University, Guiren Dist, Tainan 71150, Taiwan
2Institute of Photonic System, National Chiao Tung University, Guiren Dist., Tainan 711, Taiwan 3Faculty of Physics, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland

4Institute of Imaging and Biomedical Photonics, National Chiao Tung University, Guiren Dist., Tainan 71150, Taiwan

Full-Color Realization of Micro-LED Displays 

Yifan Wu, Jianshe Ma, Ping Su * , Lijun Zhang and Bizhong Xia

Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School, Tsinghua University, Shenzhen 518055, China; (Y.W.); (J.M.); (L.Z.); (B.X.)

Nanomaterials 202010, 2482; doi:10.3390/nano10122482

Plasmonic Color Makes a Comeback

Rachel Brazil

ACS Central Science 2020 6 (3), 332-335 DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.0c00259

Plasmonic Metasurfaces with Conjugated Polymers for Flexible Electronic Paper in Color

Kunli Xiong, Gustav Emilsson, Ali Maziz, Xinxin Yang, Lei Shao, Edwin Jager and Andreas B. Dahlin

Advanced Materials, 2016. 28(45), pp.9956-9960.

Dynamic plasmonic color generation enabled by functional materials

Frank Neubrech1,2, Xiaoyang Duan1,2, Na Liu3,4*

Neubrech et al., Sci. Adv. 2020; : eabc2709 4 September 2020

Scalable electrochromic nanopixels using plasmonics

Jialong Peng1*, Hyeon-Ho Jeong1*, Qianqi Lin1, Sean Cormier1, Hsin-Ling Liang2, Michael F. L. De Volder2, Silvia Vignolini3, Jeremy J. Baumberg1†

Peng et al., Sci. Adv. 2019;5:eaaw2205 10 May 2019

Actively addressed single pixel full-colour plasmonic display

Daniel Franklin1,2, Russell Frank2, Shin-Tson Wu3 & Debashis Chanda1,2,3


NATURE COMMUNICATIONS | 8:15209 | DOI: 10.1038/ncomms15209 |

Super Ultra-High Resolution Liquid-Crystal-Display Using Perovskite Quantum-Dot Functional Color-Filters

Scientific Reports volume 8, Article number: 12881 (2018)

Micro-light-emitting diodes with quantum dots in display technology

Light: Science & Applicationsvolume 9, Article number: 83 (2020)

Plasmonic Color Filters for CMOS Image Sensor Applications

Sozo Yokogawa,†,‡,§ Stanley P. Burgos,†,§ and Harry A. Atwater*,†
†Thomas J. Watson Laboratories of Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, United States

‡Sony Corporation, Atsugi Tec. 4-14-1 Asahi-cho, Atsugi, Kanagawa, 243-0014, Japan | Nano Lett.

Review of nanostructure color filters 

Felix Gildas and Yaping Dan*

University of Michigan–Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute, Shanghai, China

Journal of Nanophotonics 020901-1 Apr–Jun 2019 • Vol. 13(2)

Electroactive Inverse Opal: A Single Material for All Colors

Daniel P. PuzzoAndre C. ArsenaultIan MannersGeoffrey A. Ozin

First published: 13 January 2009

Angewandte Volume48, Issue5 January 19, 2009 Pages 943-947

Electrically tunable block copolymer photonic crystals with a full color display

Yijie Lu,a Hongwei Xia,a Guangzhao Zhang*a and Chi Wuab

Received 23rd March 2009, Accepted 3rd June 2009
First published as an Advance Article on the web 30th June 2009 DOI: 10.1039/b905760a

J. Mater. Chem., 2009, 19, 5952–5955



B.S. Missouri University of Science and Technology, 2011

A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
in the Department of Physics
in the College of Sciences
at the University of Central Florida
Orlando, Florida

Spring Term 2018

Major Professor: Debashis Chanda

Progress in polydopamine-based melanin mimetic materials for structural color generation

Michinari Kohri

Department of Applied Chemistry and Biotechnology, Graduate School of Engineering, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan


Photoresponsive Structural Color in Liquid Crystalline Materials

Michael E. McConneyMariacristina RumiNicholas P. GodmanUrice N. TohghaTimothy J. Bunning

First published: 24 May 2019

Adv Optical Materials Volume7, Issue16
Special Issue: Light‐Responsive Smart Soft Matter Technologies
August 19, 2019

Liquid-crystal materials find a new order in biomedical applications

Scott J Woltman 1Gregory D JayGregory P Crawford

Nat Mater
. 2007 Dec;6(12):929-38. doi: 10.1038/nmat2010. Epub 2007 Nov 18.

Color Science and Technology in LCD and LED Displays

Color Science and Technology in LCD and LED Displays

Key Terms

  • Liquid Crystals Display (LCD)
  • Light Emitting Diodes (LED)
  • Organic LED (OLED)
  • Active Matrix (AM)
  • Active Matrix OLED (AMOLED)
  • Quantum light-emitting diode (QLED)
  • Quantum Dot LED
  • Quantum dots nanorod LED (QNED)
  • Mini LED
  • Micro LED
  • Color Filters (CFA)
  • Backlighting
  • Liquid Crystals
  • Light Polarization
  • Pixels
  • Sub-Pixels
  • RGB (Red Green Blue)
  • White Light
  • Blue LEDs
  • Flat Panel Display
  • CRT (Cathode Ray Tube)
  • Phosphores
  • Pigments
  • Thin Film Transistors (TFT)
  • Active Matrix TFT
  • Twisted Nematic (TN)
  • In Panel Switching displays (IPS Panels)
  • Vertical Alignment Panels (VA Panels)
  • Advanced Fringe Field Switching (AFFS)
  • AM-LCD
  • Plasma based Displays
  • CCFL Fluorescent Lamps
  • Flexible Displays
  • FPD Flat Panel Display
  • QD-LCD
  • White LEDs
  • RGB LED Lighting
  • White LED Lighting
  • QDEF Quantum Dot Enhanced Film
  • LCM LC Module
  • QD-CF QD Color Filter
  • QD-LED based on Electroluminescence
  • miniLED Backlit LCD
  • Mini/Micro LED Emissive Displays
  • Linear Polarizer in LCD
  • Circular Polarizer in OLED
  • Perovskite LEDs
  • GB-R LED Green Blue LED + Red Phosphor
  • RB – G LED Red Blue LED + Green Phosphor
  • Color Resist
  • Photo Mask
  • Optical Film
  • Neo QLED (mini LED)
  • HDR and Rec.2020 compliant displays
  • Adobe RGB Color Space
  • Rec 709 Color Space
  • DCI P3 Color Space
  • Rec 2020 Color Space
  • Color Gamut
  • Contrast Ratio
  • Brightness
  • Luminescence
  • High Dynamic Range HDR
  • Color Volume
  • Chromaticity
  • 1pc-WLED Phosphor Converted White LED
  • 2pc-WLED Phosphor Converted White LED
  • Color Crosstalk
  • Blue LED-pumped red and green QDs backlight
  • Color Converted Film CCF
  • Luminance
  • GaN – Gallium Nitride
  • lnGaN
  • Colloidal Semiconductor QDs
  • Semiconductor nanocrystal quantum-dot-integrated white- light-emitting diodes (QD-WLEDs)
  • (Low Temperature PolySilicon LCD) LTPS LCD
  • Poly-silicon (poly-Si)
  • Amorphous silicon (a-Si)
  • Organic–inorganic perovskite (OIP)
  • Photo Resist

LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)


LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) is a type of flat panel display which uses liquid crystals in its primary form of operation. LEDs have a large and varying set of use cases for consumers and businesses, as they can be commonly found in smartphones, televisions, computer monitors and instrument panels.

LCDs were a big leap in terms of the technology they replaced, which include light-emitting diode (LED) and gas-plasma displays. LCDs allowed displays to be much thinner than cathode ray tube (CRT) technology. LCDs consume much less power than LED and gas-display displays because they work on the principle of blocking light rather than emitting it. Where an LED emits light, the liquid crystals in an LCD produces an image using a backlight.

As LCDs have replaced older display technologies, LCDs have begun being replaced by new display technologies such as OLEDs.

How LCDs work

A display is made up of millions of pixels. The quality of a display commonly refers to the number of pixels; for example, a 4K display is made up of 3840 x2160 or 4096×2160 pixels. A pixel is made up of three subpixels; a red, blue and green—commonly called RGB. When the subpixels in a pixel change color combinations, a different color can be produced. With all the pixels on a display working together, the display can make millions of different colors. When the pixels are rapidly switched on and off, a picture is created.

The way a pixel is controlled is different in each type of display; CRT, LED, LCD and newer types of displays all control pixels differently. In short, LCDs are lit by a backlight, and pixels are switched on and off electronically while using liquid crystals to rotate polarized light. A polarizing glass filter is placed in front and behind all the pixels, the front filter is placed at 90 degrees. In between both filters are the liquid crystals, which can be electronically switched on and off.

 LCDs are made with either a passive matrix or an active matrix display grid. The active matrix LCD is also known as a thin film transistor (TFT) display. The passive matrix LCD has a grid of conductors with pixels located at each intersection in the grid. A current is sent across two conductors on the grid to control the light for any pixel. An active matrix has a transistor located at each pixel intersection, requiring less current to control the luminance of a pixel. For this reason, the current in an active matrix display can be switched on and off more frequently, improving the screen refresh time.

Some passive matrix LCD’s have dual scanning, meaning that they scan the grid twice with current in the same time that it took for one scan in the original technology. However, active matrix is still a superior technology out of the two.

Types of LCDs

Types of LCDs include:

  • Twisted Nematic (TN)- which are inexpensive while having high response times. However, TN displays have low contrast ratios, viewing angles and color contrasts.
  • In Panel Switching displays (IPS Panels)- which boast much better contrast ratios, viewing angles and color contrast when compared to TN LCDs.
  • Vertical Alignment Panels (VA Panels)- which are seen as a medium quality between TN and IPS displays.
  • Advanced Fringe Field Switching (AFFS)- which is a top performer compared IPS displays in color reproduction range.


LCDs are now being outpaced by other display technologies, but are not completely left in the past. Steadily, LCDs have been being replaced by OLEDs, or organic light-emitting diodes.

 OLEDs use a single glass or plastic panels, compared to LCDs which use two. Because an OLED does not need a backlight like an LCD, OLED devices such as televisions are typically much thinner, and have much deeper blacks, as each pixel in an OLED display is individually lit. If the display is mostly black in an LCD screen, but only a small portion needs to be lit, the whole back panel is still lit, leading to light leakage on the front of the display. An OLED screen avoids this, along with having better contrast and viewing angles and less power consumption. With a plastic panel, an OLED display can be bent and folded over itself and still operate. This can be seen in smartphones, such as the controversial Galaxy Fold; or in the iPhone X, which will bend the bottom of the display over itself so the display’s ribbon cable can reach in towards the phone, eliminating the need for a bottom bezel.

However, OLED displays tend to be more expensive and can suffer from burn-in, as plasma-based displays do.

QLED stands for quantum light-emitting diode and quantum dot LED. QLED displays were developed by Samsung and can be found in newer televisions. QLEDs work most similarly to LCDs, and can still be considered as a type of LCD. QLEDs add a layer of quantum dot film to an LCD, which increases the color and brightness dramatically compared to other LCDs. The quantum dot film is made up of small crystal semi-conductor particles. The crystal semi-conductor particles can be controlled for their color output. 

When deciding between a QLED and an OLED display, QLEDs have much more brightness and aren’t affected by burn-in. However, OLED displays still have a better contrast ratio and deeper blacks than QLEDs.

This was last updated in September 2019


The History of Liquid Crystal Display

By Mary Bellis Updated March 02, 2019

hudiemm/Getty Images

An LCD or liquid crystal display is a type of flat panel display commonly used in digital devices, for example, digital clocks, appliance displays, and portable computers.

How an LCD Works 

Liquid crystals are liquid chemicals whose molecules can be aligned precisely when subjected to electrical fields, much in the way metal shavings line up in the field of a magnet. When properly aligned, the liquid crystals allow light to pass through.

A simple monochrome LCD display has two sheets of polarizing material with a liquid crystal solution sandwiched between them. Electricity is applied to the solution and causes the crystals to align in patterns. Each crystal, therefore, is either opaque or transparent, forming the numbers or text that we can read. 

History of Liquid Crystal Displays 

In 1888, liquid crystals were first discovered in cholesterol extracted from carrots by Austrian botanist and chemist, Friedrich Reinitzer.

In 1962, RCA researcher Richard Williams generated stripe patterns in a thin layer of liquid crystal material by the application of a voltage. This effect is based on an electrohydrodynamic instability forming what is now called “Williams domains” inside the liquid crystal.

According to the IEEE, “Between 1964 and 1968, at the RCA David Sarnoff Research Center in Princeton, New Jersey, a team of engineers and scientists led by George Heilmeier with Louis Zanoni and Lucian Barton, devised a method for electronic control of light reflected from liquid crystals and demonstrated the first liquid crystal display. Their work launched a global industry that now produces millions of LCDs.”

Heilmeier’s liquid crystal displays used what he called DSM or dynamic scattering method, wherein an electrical charge is applied which rearranges the molecules so that they scatter light.

The DSM design worked poorly and proved to be too power hungry and was replaced by an improved version, which used the twisted nematic field effect of liquid crystals invented by James Fergason in 1969.

James Fergason 

Inventor James Fergason holds some of the fundamental patents in liquid crystal displays filed in the early 1970s, including key US patent number 3,731,986 for “Display Devices Utilizing Liquid Crystal Light Modulation”

In 1972, the International Liquid Crystal Company (ILIXCO) owned by James Fergason produced the first modern LCD watch based on James Fergason’s patent.

Liquid Crystals in a Display

Source: Japan Display Inc.

LCD Basics

Liquid crystal

Liquid crystal refers to the intermediate status of a substance between solid (crystal) and liquid. When crystals with a high level of order in molecular sequence are melted, they generally turn liquid, which has fluidity but no such order at all. However, thin bar-shaped organic molecules, when they are melted, keep their order in a molecular direction although they lose it in molecular positions. In the state in which molecules are in a uniform direction, they also have refractive indices, dielectric constants and other physical characteristics similar to those of crystals, depending on their direction, even though they are liquid. This is why they are called liquid crystal. The diagram below shows the structure of 5CB (4-pentyl-4’-Cyanobiphenyl) as an example of liquid crystal molecules. 

An example of a liquid crystal molecule

Principle of liquid crystal display

A liquid crystal display (LCD) has liquid crystal material sandwiched between two sheets of glass. Without any voltage applied between transparent electrodes, liquid crystal molecules are aligned in parallel with the glass surface. When voltage is applied, they change their direction and they turn vertical to the glass surface. They vary in optical characteristics, depending on their orientation. Therefore, the quantity of light transmission can be controlled by combining the motion of liquid crystal molecules and the direction of polarization of two polarizing plates attached to the both outer sides of the glass sheets. LCDs utilize these characteristics to display images.

Working principle of an LCD


An LCD consists of many pixels. A pixel consists of three sub-pixels (Red/Green/Blue, RGB). In the case of Full-HD resolution, which is widely used for smartphones, there are more than six million (1,080 x 1,920 x 3 = 6,220,800) sub-pixels. To activate these millions of sub-pixels a TFT is required in each sub-pixel. TFT is an abbreviation for “Thin Film Transistor”. A TFT is a kind of semiconductor device. It serves as a control valve to provide an appropriate voltage onto liquid crystals for individual sub-pixels. A TFT LCD has a liquid crystal layer between a glass substrate formed with TFTs and transparent pixel electrodes and another glass substrate with a color filter (RGB) and transparent counter electrodes. In addition, polarizers are placed on the outer side of each glass substrate and a backlight source on the back side. A change in voltage applied to liquid crystals changes the transmittance of the panel including the two polarizing plates, and thus changes the quantity of light that passes from the backlight to the front surface of the display. This principle allows the TFT LCD to produce full-color images.

Structure of a TFT LCD


Source: Merck KGaA

Source: Merck KGaA

After over 120 years of research in liquid crystals, a large number of liquid crystal phases have been discovered. Liquid crystal phases have a range of different structures, but all have one thing in common: they flow in a similar way to viscous liquids, but show the physical behavior of crystals. Their appearance depends on various criteria, including molecular structure and temperature, as well as their concentration and the solvent.

A crystal can be described using a coordinate system. Each atom of a molecule has its specific position. The structure of a crystal can be reduced to a tiny unit, the primitive cell, which is repeated periodically in all three dimensions. This periodicity describes the long-range order of a crystal. A crystal is a highly ordered system in which the physical properties have different characteristics according to the viewing angle. This is called anisotropy. The properties of a liquid crystal phase are also anisotropic, although the structure can no longer be described in a coordinate system. The periodicity and thus the long-range order are lost. Molecules orient themselves by their neighboring molecules, so that only short-range order can be observed. In contrast, a liquid is a completely disordered system, in which the physical properties are isotropic, i.e. directionally independent. What a liquid crystal phase and a liquid have in common is fluidity.


In LCD technology, the thermotropic nematic phase is by far the most significant phase. It is formed from rod-shaped (calamitic) molecules that arrange themselves approximately parallel to each other. These molecules can also form smectic phases, which exist in multiple manifestations. Smectic phases are more ordered than nematic phases: as well as the parallel alignment of the molecules, they also form layers.

As the temperature rises, the order of a system decreases. The temperature at which a liquid crystal phase is converted to the isotropic liquid is called the clearing point. A substance may form one or more liquid crystal phases if the structural conditions allow this. However, the appearance of liquid crystal phases is not necessarily a consequence of the molecular structure.

Source: Liquid Crystalline materials used in LCD display


Types of LCD Technologies

Source: Merck KGaA

  • Twisted nematic (TN)
  • Vertical alignment (VA)
  • Polymer stabilized VA variant (PS-VA)
  • Self alignment vertical alignment (SA-VA)
  • In-plane switching (IPS)
  • Fringe field switching (FFS)
  • Ultra-brightness fringe field switching (UB-FFS)
  • Blue Phase

Source: Merck KGaA

Components of a LCD Panel

In Plane Switching IPS Technology

  • Unpolarized Light
  • Polarizer
  • Glass Substrate
  • Thin Film Transistor
  • TFT Electrode
  • Orientation Layer
  • Liquid Crystals
  • Polarized Light
  • Orientation Layer
  • Color Filter
  • Glass Substrate
  • Analyzer
  • Emitted Light

Vertical Alignment VA Technology

  • Back Lighting Unit (BLU) – Source of Unpolarized Light
  • 1 st Polarizing Filter – Input Polarizer
  • Glass Substrate – backbone
  • Thin Film Transistor (TFT)
  • TFT Electrode
  • Orientation Layer – Thin Film Transistors
  • RM/additive Polymer layer – orientation of liquid crystal molecules and for fixing “pretilt angle”
  • RM Polymer Layer
  • Liquid Crystals
  • Polarized Light
  • RM/additive polymer layer
  • RM Polymer layer
  • Orientation layer
  • Electrode
  • Color filter
  • Glass Substrate
  • 2 nd Polarizing filter

Materials used in making Displays

Source: Merck KGaA Germany

  • Liquid Crystals
  • OLED Materials
  • Photoresists
  • Siloxanes
  • Silozanes
  • LED Phosphores
  • Quantum Materials
  • Reactive Mesogens

Three main components of a LCD Panel are discussed below in some detail.

  • Backplane Technology
  • Color Filter
  • Backlighting

Backplane Technology

What Is An LTPS LCD?

August 10, 2019

Low-temperature polycrystalline silicon (or LTPS) LCD—also called LTPS TFT LCD—is a new-generation technology product derived from polycrystalline silicon materials. Polycrystalline silicon is synthesised at relatively low temperatures (~650°C and lower) as compared to traditional methods (above 900°C).

Standard LCDs found in many consumer electronics, including cellphones, use amorphous silicon as the liquid for the display unit. Recent technology has replaced this with polycrystalline silicon, which has boosted the screen resolution and response time of devices.

Row/column driver electronics are integrated onto the glass substrate. The number of components in an LTPS LCD module can be reduced by 40 per cent, while the connection part can be reduced by 95 per cent. The LTPS display screen is better in terms of energy consumption and durability, too.

LTPS LCDs are increasingly becoming popular these days. These have a high potential for large-scale production of electronic devices such as flat-panel LCD displays or image sensors.

Amorphous silicon lacks crystal structure, whereas polycrystalline silicon consists of various crystallites or grains, each having an organised lattice (Fig. 1).

Amorphous silicon versus polycrystalline silicon (Credit: Wikipedia)
Fig. 1: Amorphous silicon versus polycrystalline
silicon (Credit: Wikipedia)

Advantages of an LTPS LCD display are:

  • Dynamic and rich colours
  • Fast response and less reflective
  • High picture resolution

Some of its disadvantages are:

  • Deteriorates faster than other LCDs
  • High cost

Display technology explained: A-Si, LTPS, amorphous IGZO, and beyond

ultra slim bezel tablet

LCD or AMOLED1080p vs 2K? There are plenty of contentious topics when it comes to smartphone displays, which all have an impact on the day to day usage of our smartphones. However, one important topic which is often overlooked during analysis and discussion is the type of backplane technology used in the display.

Display makers often throw around terms like A-Si, IGZO, or LTPS. But what do these acronyms actually mean and what’s the impact of backplane technology on user experience? What about future developments?

For clarification, backplane technology describes the materials and assembly designs used for the thin film transistors which drive the main display. In other words, it is the backplane that contains an array of transistors which are responsible for turning the individual pixels on and off, acting therefore as a determining factor when it comes to display resolution, refresh rate, and power consumption.Display Panel TransistorsNote the transistors at the top of each colored pixel.

Examples of backplane technology include amorphous silicon (aSi), low-temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS) and indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO), whilst LCD and OLED are examples of light emitting material types. Some of the different backplane technologies can be used with different display types, so IGZO can be used with either LCD or OLED displays, albeit that some backplanes are more suitable than others.


Amorphous silicon has been the go-to material for backplane technology for many years, and comes in a variety of different manufacturing methods, to improve its energy efficiency, refresh speeds, and the display’s viewing angle. Today, a-Si displays make up somewhere between 20 and 25 percent of the smartphone display market.Poly-Si-TFT-vs-a-SiH-TFT-vs-Oxide-TFTA spec comparison of common TFT types.

For mobile phone displays with a pixel density lower than 300 pixels per inch, this technology remains the preferable backplane of choice, mainly due to its low costs and relatively simple manufacturing process. However, when it comes to higher resolution displays and new technologies such as AMOLED, a-Si is beginning to struggle.

AMOLED puts more electrical stress on the transistors compared with LCD, and therefore favours technologies that can offer more current to each pixel. Also, AMOLED pixel transistors take up more space compared with LCDs, blocking more light emissions for AMOLED displays, making a-Si rather unsuitable. As a result, new technologies and manufacturing processes have been developed to meet the increasing demands made of display panels over recent years.


LTPS currently sits as the high-bar of backplane manufacturing, and can be spotted behind most of the high end LCD and AMOLED displays found in today’s smartphones.  It is based on a similar technology to a-Si, but a higher process temperature is used to manufacture LTPS, resulting in a material with improved electrical properties.Backplane currentsHigher currents are required for stable OLED panels, which a-Si falls short of.

LTPS is in fact the only technology that really works for AMOLED right now, due to the higher amount of current required by this type of display technology. LTPS also has higher electron mobility, which, as the name suggests, is an indication of how quickly/easily an electron can move through the transistor, with up to 100 times greater mobility than a-Si.

For starters, this allows for much faster switching display panels. The other big benefit of this high mobility is that the transistor size can be shrunk down, whilst still providing the necessary power for most displays. This reduced size can either be put towards energy efficiencies and reduced power consumption, or can be used to squeeze more transistors in side by side, allow for much greater resolution displays. Both of these aspects are becoming increasingly important as smartphones begin to move beyond 1080p, meaning that LTPS is likely to remain a key technology for the foreseeable future.display technology revenue sharesLTPS is by far the most commonly used backplane technology, when you combine its use in LCD and AMOLED panels.

The drawback of LTPS TFT comes from its increasingly complicated manufacturing process and material costs, which makes the technology more expensive to produce, especially as resolutions continue to increase. As an example, a 1080p LCD based on this technology panel costs roughly 14 percent more than a-Si TFT LCD. However, LTPS’s enhanced qualities still mean that it remains the preferred technology for higher resolution displays.


Currently, a-Si and LTPS LCD displays make up the largest combined percentage of the smartphone display market. However, IGZO is anticipated as the next technology of choice for mobile displays. Sharp originally began production of its IGZO-TFT LCD panels back in 2012, and has been employing its design in smartphones, tablets and TVs since then. The company has also recent shown off examples of non-rectangular shaped displays based on IGZO. Sharp isn’t the only player in this field — LG and Samsung are both interested in the technology as well.IGZO vs aSi 1Smaller transistors allow for higher pixel densities

The area where IGZO, and other technologies, have often struggled is when it comes to implementations with OLED. ASi has proven rather unsuitable to drive OLED displays, with LTPS providing good performance, but at increasing expense as display size and pixel densities increase. The OLED industry is on the hunt for a technology which combines the low cost and scalability of a-Si with the high performance and stability of LTPS, which is where IGZO comes in.

Why should the industry make the switch over to IGZO? Well, the technology has quite a lot of potential, especially for mobile devices. IGZO’s build materials allow for a decent level of electron mobility, offering 20 to 50 times the electron mobility of amorphous silicon (a-Si), although this isn’t quite as high as LTPS, which leaves you with quite a few design possibilities. IGZO displays can therefore by shrunk down to smaller transistor sizes, resulting in lower power consumption, which provides the added benefit of making the IGZO layer less visible than other types. That means you can run the display at a lower brightness to achieve the same output, reducing power consumption in the process.

IGZO vs aSi 2

One of IGZO’s other benefits is that it is highly scalable, allowing for much higher resolution displays with greatly increased pixel densities. Sharp has already announced plans for panels with 600 pixels per inch. This can be accomplished more easily than with a-Si TFT types due to the smaller transistor size.

Higher electron mobility also lends itself to improved performance when it comes to refresh rate and switching pixels on and off. Sharp has developed a method of pausing pixels, allowing them to maintain their charge for longer periods of time, which again will improve battery life, as well as help create a constantly high quality image.

IGZO vs aSi 3

Smaller IGZO transistors are also touting superior noise isolation compared to a-Si, which should result in a smoother and more sensitive user experience when used with touchscreens. When it comes to IGZO OLED, the technology is well on the way, as Sharp has just unveiled its new 13.3-inch 8K OLED display at SID-2014.

Essentially, IGZO strives to reach the performance benefits of LTPS, whilst keeping fabrications costs as low as possible. LG and Sharp are both working on improving their manufacturing yields this year, with LG aiming for 70% with its new Gen 8 M2 fab. Combined with energy efficient display technologies like OLED, IGZO should be able to offer an excellent balance of cost, energy efficiency, and display quality for mobile devices.

What’s next?

Innovations in display backplanes aren’t stopping with IGZO, as companies are already investing in the next wave, aiming to further improve energy efficiency and display performance. Two examples worth keeping an eye are on are Amorphyx’ amorphous metal nonlinear resistor (AMNR) and CBRITE.lg g3 aa (7 of 22)Higher resolution smartphones, such as the LG G3, are putting increasing demands on the transistor technology behind the scenes.

Starting with AMNR, a spin-off project which came out of Oregon State University, this technology aims to replace the common thin-film transistors with a simplified two-terminal current tunnelling device, which essentially acts as a “dimmer switch”.

This developing technology can be manufacturing on a process that leverages a-Si TFT production equipment, which should keep costs down when it comes to switching production, whilst also offering a 40 percent lower cost of production compared with a-Si. AMNR is also touting better optical performance than a-Si and a complete lack of sensitivity to light, unlike IGZO. AMNR could end up offering a new cost effective option for mobile displays, while making improvements in power consumption too.

CBRITE, on the other hand, is working on its own metal oxide TFT, which has a material and process that delivers greater carrier mobility than IGZO. Electron mobility can happily reach 30cm²/V·sec, around the speed of IGZO, and has been demonstrated reaching 80cm²/V·sec, which is almost as high as LTPS. CBRITE also appears to lend itself nicely to the higher resolution and lower power consumption requirements of future mobile display technologies.LTPS vs CBRITE performance with OLEDLTPS vs CBRITE spec comparison for use with OLED displays

Furthermore, this technology is manufactured from a five-mask process, which reduces costs even compared to a-Si and will certainly make it much cheaper to manufacture than the 9 to 12 mask LTSP process. CBITE is expected to start shipping products sometime in 2015 or 2016, although whether this will end up in mobile devices so soon is currently unknown.

Smartphones are already benefiting from improvements in screen technology, and some would argue that things are already as good as they need to be, but the display industry still has plenty to show us over the next few years.

Color Filter Array (CFA)

Source: BASF

Source: BASF

Cathode ray tube television sets have long had their day. Flat screen TVs now provide energy-efficient, low-emission entertainment in three out of four German households, according to the Federal Statistical Office. And this figure is rising, Germans are estimated to have purchased eight million flat screen television sets in 2015, most of which are LCDs. LCD technology is also the basis for many other contemporary communication devices, including smartphones, laptops and tablets. After all, with experts forecasting six percent global annual sales growth for flat-panel displays until 2020.

LCD stands for liquid crystal display. Liquid crystals form the basis for billions of flat-panel displays. The American, George H. Heilmeier, unveiled the first monochrome LCD monitor to the expert community in 1968. Commercialization of the first color monitors took another 20 years. Flat screen TVs started sweeping the world in the 1990s, mainly because of the availability of high-performance color filter materials.

The images on a liquid crystal display with the standard resolution are made up of about two million picture elements, better known as pixels. The color filter pigments attached to the liquid crystal cells are what give each pixel its color. Screen contrast and color purity remain a challenge, however. 

Pigment properties make all the difference

Red, green, and blue: Every pixel contains these three primary colors. The colors are composed of tiny crystals about a thousand times smaller in diameter than a human hair. The crystals act as a filter for the white backlight and only allow light waves from a selected range of the visible spectrum to pass through. These light waves show one of the three colors in its purest possible form. The filters block all the other wavelengths. “A good pigment has a significant impact on the brilliance of the colors the viewer sees,” said Dr. Hans Reichert, head of colorants research at BASF.

“Although perfect color selection is not feasible with absorbing materials, we come fairly close to perfection with our red filters.” Color purity also has an impact on the range of colors available. The greater the purity of the three primary colors, the more permutations that can be achieved by mixing them – and the more colorful the image.

The picture shows a chemical reaction in the lab yielding diketopyrrolopyrroles, the substances BASF’s red filter pigments are made of. Diketopyrrolopyrroles are aromatic organic ring compounds mainly consisting of carbon, nitrogen and oxygen.

The basic principle is simple. When the color red appears on the screen, the corresponding subpixel lets the red portion of light pass through and absorbs the rest. The other two subpixels – for blue and green – are deactivated when this happens. If, on the other hand, light penetrates through the red and green subpixel while the blue is deactivated, the colors combine to give a rich yellow. Fine-tuning the portions of the three primary colors in this manner produces millions of hues.

The liquid crystals fine-tune the blend of colors by twisting the plane of oscillation of the light waves. “This determines the brightness and color of the subpixels,” said Ger de Keyzer, in charge of applications engineering for color filter materials at BASF. “The liquid crystals change direction, and in that way alter their optical properties depending on the voltage applied.” They rotate the plane of oscillation of light waves to allow the light to pass through the second polarization filter. When an electrical field is applied, however, the crystals prevent some or all of the light from getting through.

To ensure that subpixels switch on and off the way they are supposed to, it is essential to prevent interferences from the color filter pigments. Any interferences resulting in scattering and depolarization of light will allow the light to pass uncontrolled through the filter. This contaminates the colors and compromises the contrast.

Smaller the better

“A good rule of thumb is: The smaller and more regular the crystals, the lower the scattering and the better the LCD image quality,” de Keyzer said. Researchers control the process mainly by managing the conditions in which pigment crystallization takes place. The underlying molecular structure is what determines which parts of the color spectrum are filtered out.

The organic red pigments that BASF manufactures consist mainly of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen, and belong to the class of diketopyrrolopyrroles (DPPs). Blue and green pigments are phthalocyanine metal complex compounds. The raw product produced through chemical synthesis is mainly composed of irregular particles. They must then be brought into the ideal size and shape. This is done by a process called pigment finishing. Crystals that are too small are dissolved and precipitated onto the larger crystals. Crystals that are too large are broken into smaller pieces by a mechanical process until the balance is right. Dr. Roman Lenz, BASF lab team leader in charge of new color filter material synthesis, explained: “Our technology gives us color particles of 20 to 40 nanometers – small enough to reduce light scattering to an absolute minimum but large enough to provide a high degree of stability.” BASF has honed the technology almost to perfection with its products. The color particles in the latest generation of the Irgaphor® Red product suite are smaller than 0.00004 millimeters, and have double the contrast performance of their predecessors.

Tomorrow’s television screens will have to meet even higher expectations in terms of resolution and color purity. In anticipation of the new demands, Lenz and his colleagues are taking their lab experiments one step further. Their aim is to find new materials that will show colors in an even more natural light.


Market Demands for Color Filters

Source: Toppan Japan


Manufacturing Process of Color Filters

Source: Toppan Japan

Dyes and Pigments Used in Color Filters

  • Red Pigment/Dye
  • Green Pigment/Dye
  • Blue Pigment/Dye

High Transmittance, Low Scattering

Source: Past, present, and future of WCG technology in display

Dyes/Pigment Suppliers

  • DIC/Sun Chemicals. – Green and Blue
  • BASF – Red
  • Merck KGaA
  • Solvay
  • Clariant
  • Sumitomo Chemicals

Source: DIC Japan

Pigments for Color Filters Used in LCDs and OLED Displays(Functional Pigments)

Pigments for Color Filters Used in LCDs and OLED Displays(Functional Pigments)

Value Creation Global market-leading pigments that deliver outstanding brightness and picture quality

Color images on liquid crystal displays (LCDs) used in LCD televisions, computers and smartphones are produced using the three primary colors of light—red (R), green (G) and blue (B). These colors are created using pigments. LCDs produce images by transmitting light emitted from a backlight lamp through a color filter to which an RGB pattern has been applied. As a consequence, the pigments used in the color filter are crucial to picture quality.
With Japan’s shift to digital terrestrial television driving up demand for flatpanel LCD televisions and the popularity of smartphones increasing, in 2007 DIC launched the G58 series of green pigments, which achieved a remarkable increase in brightness. The series includes FASTOGEN GREEN A350, a green pigment characterized by outstanding brightness and contrast that ensures excellent picture quality even with little light from the backlight. In fiscal year 2014, DIC developed the G59 series of green pigments for wide color gamut color filters, which deliver superior brightness and color reproduction, making them suitable for use in filters for next-generation high-definition displays, including those for ultra-high-definition (UHD) televisions. DIC currently enjoys an 85%- plus share of the global market for green pigments for color filters, making its products the de facto standard. DIC also manufactures blue pigments for color filters. In 2012, the Company developed the A series, which boasts a superb balance between brightness and contrast. The optical properties of pigments in this series have earned high marks from smartphone manufacturers and boosted DIC’s share of the global market for blue pigments to approximately 50%.
DIC’s pigments for color filters, which satisfy the diverse performance requirements of displays used in LCD televisions, smartphones, tablets and notebook computers while at the same time adding value, have been adopted for use by many color filter manufacturers. In addition to improving picture quality, these pigments reduce energy consumption and, by extension, lower emissions of CO2. Having positioned pigments for color filters as a business that it expects to drive growth, DIC continues working to reinforce its development and product supply capabilities.

Applying technologies amassed through the production of printing inks to the development and expansion of functional pigments that have become the de facto standard worldwide

DIC first succeeded in developing offset printing inks in-house in 1915 and 10 years later began production of organic pigments for its own use. Over subsequent years, the Company amassed development and design capabilities, as well as production technologies, crucial to the manufacture of fine chemicals and in 1973 commercialized revolutionary high-performance, long-lasting nematic LCs, which were adopted by Sharp Corporation for use in the world’s first pocket calculator incorporating an LCD. DIC’s passion and development prowess are also evident in its pigments for color filters.
Large-screen LCD televisions are expected to deliver superbly realistic and accurate color reproduction. The small LCDs used in smartphones and other devices must be clear, easy to read and bright enough to ensure legibility even with less light. This is because reduced light requirements results in longer battery life. Increasing brightness requires making color filters thinner and more transparent, but this alone will not deliver vivid colors and resolution. With the question of how best to realize both high brightness and vivid colors on ongoing challenge for display manufacturers, DIC has responded by developing innovative pigments for this application.
Copper has traditionally been the central material used in green pigments. In developing its green pigments for color filters, DIC defied conventional wisdom by exploring the use of a different central material with the goal of further enhancing performance characteristics. Through a process of trial and error, the Company narrowed down the list of suitable materials from a wide range of candidates, eventually choosing zinc. DIC also significantly improved transparency by reducing the size of pigment particles, thereby achieving a dramatic increase in contrast, which ensures a bright, clear picture quality even with less light. The outcome of these efforts was the groundbreaking G58 series.

Picture quality is influenced significantly by the brightness and contrast of the pigment used in the color filter. (Left: High brightness and high contrast; Right: Low brightness and low contrast)

In the area of blue pigments for color filters, DIC also leveraged its superior molecular design capabilities to achieve outstanding tinting strength and precise particle size control. To develop the A series of blue pigments for color filters, the Company also employed specialty particle surface processing to ensure highly stable dispersion, realizing an excellent balance between brightness and contrast. Products in the A series currently dominate the market for blue pigments for color filters, delivering excellent optical properties that continue to earn solid marks from smartphone manufacturers.
DIC’s success in developing a steady stream of pioneering functional pigments is supported by the seamless integration of basic technologies amassed in various fields as a manufacturer of color materials, the crossbusiness R&D configuration of its Central Research Laboratories and production technologies that facilitate the mass production of products with performance characteristics realized in the laboratory.


We are making full use of the DIC Group’s global network at all stages, from the promotion of product strategies through to the expansion of sales channels.

Manager, Pigments Sales Department 2, Pigments Product Division Naoto Akiyama

The value chain extending from functional pigments through to color filters for LCDs encompasses manufacturers of pigments, pigment dispersions, resist inks, color filters and LCDs. In developing pigments for color filters, we gather information on the latest trends from LCD manufacturers, which we apply to the formulation of nextgeneration product strategies.
Production of pigment dispersions, color filters and LCDs is concentrated primarily in East Asia. Recent years have seen a particularly sharp increase in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which is on the verge of overtaking the Republic of Korea (ROK) as No. 1 in terms of volume produced. We are making full use of the DIC Group’s global network by working closely with local Group companies to bolster the adoption of DIC pigments for color filters for use in LCDs.

Manager, Pigments Sales Department 2, Pigments Product Division Naoto Akiyama

Source: Emperor Chemicals China

Color filter (CF, COLOR FILTER) is one of the most important components of a color liquid crystal display, which directly determines the quality of the color image of the display. The rapid growth of LCD displays is supported by the strong demand for flat-panel color displays from notebooks (PCs, Personal Computers). The portable characteristics of the LCD, such as small outline size, thinness, lightness, high definition, and low power consumption, greatly meet the needs of notebook PCs. It is believed that in the multimedia age, TFT-LCD will have a huge advantage. Color filters are the key elements that make up a color image.

The color of the color filter may be dyed with a water-soluble dye, or a pigment dispersion method in which a pigment is colored. The pigment dispersion method includes the use of UV-curable phtoresists: colored pigments, UV-curable carrier resins, photo initiators, organic solvents, dispersants and other ingredients, among which organic pigments are colored The requirements for coloring properties of the agent, such as high vividness, specific primary color (RGB), three spectral hue, durability, chemical resistance and high transparency, etc., are mainly the selection of high-grade organic pigments through efficient dispersion Treatment process to obtain a pigment dispersion with a fine and stable particle size, and to prepare photoresist inks for color filters. Compared with the dyeing method, it has excellent moisture resistance, light fastness, and heat stability, but the pigment dispersion must be further improved Technology to prepare color filters with high transparency and pigment purity.

The color filter in the liquid crystal display adopts the principle of additive method, and uses blue, green and red organic pigments. Based on the spectral color and durability requirements of colorants, pigments for blue and green color photoresist inks are usually selected: phthalocyanine CI pigment blue 15: 1, pigment blue 15 :0, pigment blue 15: 3, Pigment Blue 15: 4, Pigment Blue 15: 6, and anthraquinone-based pigments such as CI Pigment Blue 60 and the like. Green tone C.I. Pigment Green 36.

In particular, the spectral absorption characteristics of CI Pigment Blue 15: 6 and CI Pigment Green 36 are well matched with the wavelengths and emission intensities of the blue, green, and red fluorescence emission spectra (fluorescence lamp for LCD backlight) in liquid crystal displays. In order to further improve the spectral characteristics, it is possible to adjust by adding a small amount of pigments of other colors, such as adding CI Pigment Violet 23 to obtain a stronger red light blue, and adding CI Pigment Yellow 150 to obtain a stronger yellow light green.

The selection of pigments should be based on obtaining a high-definition spectrum, eliminating unnecessary wavelength spectra, and retaining only the necessary color light. Selecting the organic pigment varieties required by the appendix, the color light purity and transmittance of the color filter can also be improved.

In order to adjust the spectral characteristics of the color filter, such as hue, tinting strength and contrast, for red, green and blue spectrum pigments, a second pigment component is often added to fight the color. For example, select some yellow with excellent durability, Purple organic pigment varieties, CI Pigment Yellow 138, CI Pigment Yellow 139, CI Pigment Yellow 150, CI Pigment Yellow 180, CI Pigment Purple 23 and other varieties.

Recommended organic pigments of three primary colors of red, blue and green are as follows:

Red organic pigments: The main varieties are high-grade organic pigments such as: C.I. Pigment Red 122, C.I. Pigment Red 177, C.I. Pigment Red 242, C.I. Pigment Red 254, and specific yellow organic pigment varieties are added if necessary.

Green organic pigments: C.I. Pigment Green 7, C.I. Pigment Green 36 is mainly selected, and specific yellow organic pigment varieties are matched, and specific yellow organic pigment varieties are added if necessary.

Blue organic pigments: C.I.Pigment Blue 5, C.I.Pigment Blue 15: 3, C.I.Pigment Blue 15: 6, C.I.Pigment Blue 60, etc., if necessary, specific yellow pigments and pigment violet 23.

Color Filter Less Technology

The liquid crystal display (LCD)is a thin, flat display device, which is made up of many number of color or monochrome pixels arrayed in front of a light source or reflector. It is prized for its superb image quality, such as low-voltage power source, low manufacturing cost, compared with other display device including CRT, plasma, projection, etc. Today the LCD device has been widely used in portable electronics such as cell phones, personal computers, medium and also in large size television display.

The LCD device consists of two major components, TFT-LCD panel and Back Light Unit (BLU). As LCD device can not light actively itself, thus a form of illumination, back light unit is needed for its display. While one of the key parts in LCD panel is color filter. The color filter is a film frame consists of RGB primary colors, and its function is to generate three basic colors from the back light source for LCD display. As a whole, back light and color filter are the two vital components of the perfect color display for LCD device.

Traditionally people use the cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL)as the back light source for medium and large size LCD device. However CCFL has several disadvantages. For example, narrow color representation, low efficiency, complex structure, limited life, and the CCFL needs to be driven by a high-voltage inverter, consequently requires more space. Another disadvantage is the environmental problem for the mercury inside it. So people try to find an ideal back light module for LCD display.

Nowadays, the back light technology for LCD device towards the trend of using light emitting devices (LED). For its excellent advantages, the LCD device based on LED back light owns promoted display performance. As a new generation of solid-state light source, LED can produce very narrow spectrum, thus can generate a high color saturation, as a result it provides LCD device delivering a wider color gamut of above 100% of NTSC specification than the only 70% of CCFL back light. Moreover the LED only need DC power drive instead of a DC-AC inverter, so simplifies the back light structure. In a word, LED back light makes LCD obtain quite a higher display quality than the conventional CCFL back light. Despite of these advantages, there are also several challenges for LED back light technology currently, such as efficiency, stable ability, heat dissipation and cost etc. so people are trying to get some substantial breakthrough at the technical problems above to make LED back light as the key technology part for LCD device.

Color filter is another key component of the LCD device. As a sophisticated part, its fabrication takes an extremely complicated process, consequently the color filter occupies quite a large proportion of the production cost of the LCD devices. While a serious deficiency is its greatly influence on the light utilization rate. Generally speaking, only about 30% the amount of the light emitted from the back light can be delivered, while the rest of the light is wasted while passing the color filter.

For this, people prefer to designing a new form of LCD module which can get rid of the color filter, to promote the efficiency of light utilization. So an idea of Color Filter-Less (CFL) technology was put forward. The Field Sequential color LCD designed by Sumsang company is the first form of Color Filter-Less technology which is an idea of changing the space color mixing into the time color mixing.

Especially, we design a film frame which is patterned of red and green emitting phosphors, then make it be excited by blue light from a blue LED panel we fabricated. For its special emitting mechanism, this phosphor film can generate red and green emissions respectively. Meanwhile not all the blue light is absorbed by the phosphors, the remnant blue light can pass the film frame, therefore we can achieve a panel frame on which the RGB colors mixed together, thus to replace of the color filter in LCD device.


  • CCFL Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp
  • LED
    • RGB LED Backlighting
    • An Edge backlight with white LEDs
    • A flat backlight based on white LEDs


Recent Technological Innovations

  • LCD with LED Backlighting
  • Mini LED
  • Micro LED
  • LCD with Quantum Dot QDEF
  • Wide Color Gamut WCG
  • Color Filter Less LCD
  • Vertically Stacked OLED Layers (SOLED)
  • Quantum Dot Color Filter QDCF
  • RGBW LED 4 colors
  • Bright Dyes and Pigments
  • Color Filters using Structural Colors
  • Transreflective Displays
  • Reflective Displays
  • Blue LED plus Red Green Color Filter
  • Flexible displays -bendable, rollable, fixed, curved, foldable
  • Touch Screens
  • Transparent Displays

Vertically Stacked RGB OLED layers (SOLED)

Source: Three-terminal RGB full-color OLED pixels for ultrahigh density displays

TFT based Vertically stacked OLEDs

Source: Thin-film transistor-driven vertically stacked full-color organic light-emitting diodes for high-resolution active-matrix displays

Supply Chain for TFT-LCD Manufacturing

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)


What are the different types of RGB LEDs?

The following are the different types of RGB LEDs:

  • R/G/B/W – Has an additional white LED. This is often used where you need a pure white as well other combined colors.
  • RGB / 3 in 1 LED – Uses a red, a blue and a green LED chip are mounted within a common light engine and focused through a lens to produce a more uniform hue across the beam of light.
  • RGBW / 4 in 1 LED – similar to the RGB LED but with a warm white LED integrated in the light engine to offer more color tones.
  • RGBA – Has an additional amber LED chip.

White vs RGB LEDs

White LED’s are actually blue leds with a yellow phosphor, and thus creating an white impression. This technique allows a colour gamut slightly wider than sRGB, but not very “colourfull”. RGB leds consist of 3 individual colour leds, red, green and blue. These allow an enourmous colour gamut that covers most standards like AdobeRGB and NTSC. Panels with RGB LED’s are much more expensive, as they need much more calibration logic. It is very hard to tame extreme gamut for say sRGB use, and the ballance of the colours is constantly monitored. RGB LED displays are doing twice the price of WLED’s with ease.

Composition of OLED Display

  • White OLED

Source: Past, present, and future of WCG technology in display

OLED Technologies

  • Shadow Mask Patterning Method
  • Color Filter Method


Color Patterning Technologies

Ink Jet and Photolithography are methods of making color filters.


This chapter discusses the color patterning technologies, which gives major contribution to cost and productivity. The technologies discussed include shadow mask patterning, white‐color filter method, laser‐induced thermal imaging method, radiation‐induced sublimation transfer method, and dual‐plate OLED display method. Low material utilization can bring high cost, so it is very critical to suppress material consumption during OLED display manufacturing. To address this, various high‐material‐utilization next‐generation OLED manufacturing processes, such as the vapor injection source technology (VIST) method, hot‐wall method, and organic vapor‐phase deposition (OVPD) have been proposed and are discussed in the chapter.


OLED Production: Composition and Color Patterning Techniques

Last updated on January 22, 2020

Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) are most famously known for their use in foldable smart phone displays. From the Samsung Galaxy Fold to the Huawei Mate X (2019), these devices offer huge screens that can fold down to the size of a more traditional smartphone screen. This revolutionary new technology is made possible by the properties and composition of OLED screens. In traditional Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) screens, a glass pane covers the actual liquid crystal display that emits the light. On the other hand, OLED screens have the light emitting technology already built into them. Thus, when you touch interact with an OLED device, you are touching the actual display too. OLED screens are often made of a type of plastic, which allows for flexibility and folding screens. These devices also require OLED color patterning techniques in order to integrate color into the display devices, which we will describe further in the upcoming sections.

Intro to OLED Composition

Now, we will brief on the composition and integration of OLED technology in this plastic screen. OLEDs are made of two or three organic layers sandwiched between two electrodes (cathode and anode) on top of a substrate layer. The organic layers and electrodes emit light in response to an electric current. One of the most difficult processes in manufacturing these OLEDs is attaching the organic layers to the substrate. For example, organic vapor phase deposition and inkjet printing are both efficient methods that can reduce the cost of producing OLED displays.OLED cell structure diagram

OLED components include organic layers that are made of organic molecules or polymers. This diagram is a two (organic) layer model.
Courtesy of HowStuffWorks.

Another big part of OLED manufacturing is the color patterning step, which allows the OLED device to display color. There are various methods in use for OLED color patterning, including photolithography. Lithography is commonly used for semiconductors and TFTs, but presents challenges for OLEDs. This is due to the high temperature and humid conditions required for attaching OLED layers together. In this article we will explore three different color patterning technologies that have arisen for more efficient and accurate OLED optical manufacturing.

OLED Color Patterning and Masking Techniques

First, we have the “Shadow Mask Patterning Method” consists of placing red, green, and blue light emitting layers in a pattern in each pixel of the OLED device. Further, this has the advantage that each subpixel gets appointed a single, distinct color which produces great clarity of images. Unlike the other methods, there are no outer color filters required to produce the images. Thus, this method saves energy and is one of the most efficient. However, utilizing shadow masks can be an error filled process because the RBG subpixel pattern is outlined with a physical mask a.k.a stencil. We show an example of an accuracy error and its effects in the images below.Shadow RBG mask error

Error produced in processing an OLED with a red pixel mask. We can see that the spacing in the pattern is off around the red arrow. Courtesy of Tsujimura.OLED screen color variation

The resulting color variation in OLED screen due to shadow mask deformation. shown above. Courtesy of Tsujimura.

Second, we have the “Color Filter Method” a.k.a. “White+Color Filter Patterning” method. In this method, the OLED itself is also designed and manufactured with all three color elements in each pixel. However, different from the “Shadow Mask Patterning” method, these OLEDs only produce white light. Next, additional red, green, and blue color filters are utilized to match the desired color output. Accordingly, this process allows for a dynamic range of colors to be emitted with different levels of filtering. However, a big consequence of using color filters is that the purity of the image may be compromised due to interactions of the OLED light and physical color filters. Equally important is the high power consumption this method eats up. Because the color filters absorb most of the light intensity, the process requires a constant, powerful back light.OLED white + color filter method

Schematic diagram of White+Color filter patterning method for OLEDs. Courtesy of Tsujimura.

Rising OLED Color Patterning Techniques: Electron Beams

In 2016, a new approach for OLED color patterning was developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics. Researchers utilized electron beam technology to color pattern the organic layers in the OLED. Because this process acted on the micro-scale, it produced extremely accurate, high-resolution results, even with the help of color filters. Further, it also allowed for complex patterns and high-definition (HD) grayscale images. Since then, this technology has been developed and advanced to that of full-color working OLED displays, without the use of external filters.

Now, we will discuss an overview about how the electron beam process works. First, an OLED is produced containing all three RGB organic emitting layers. Akin to the previously mentioned processes, this OLED is designed to produce only white light. Next, a thermal electron beam is directed on the white emitting OLED. The electron beam excites certain molecules in the organic layer of the OLED, which causes the molecules or atoms to separate and become structured. Consequently, the thickness of different areas in the OLED organic layer changes and pixels with distinct colors (RGB) are formed. Moreover, the electron beam patterning process allows for microstructuring into color pixels without perturbing the other substrate and electrode layers.OLED color patterning probe station

Probe station with patterned OLEDs in the clean room.
Courtesy of Fraunhofer FEP.


As more AMOLED, and flexible displays enter the market, OLED technology will continue to become more popular and widespread. One of the most important considerations for OLED availability in mass market, is in screen color production. Rising techniques such as the Electron Beam Patterning method can produce high quality, low cost, and energy efficiency. Another key consideration in OLED screen production is low material consumption. Further rising techniques in research that allow for low material costs include the vapor injection source technology (VIST) method, hot‐wall method, and organic vapor‐phase deposition (OVPD) [1].

This article is made possible by Gentec-EO, the market leader in the manufacture of light detection devices.

Further Reading


Supply Chains of OLED Displays

Cover Glass

  • Corning Glass
  • Samsung Corning Advanced Glass

TFT Backplane

  • Samsung UBE Materials
  • Sumitomo Chemicals


  • Universal Display Corporation UDC USA


  • Samsung SDI for Flex OLED

IC Driver

  • Samsung Semiconductors
  • Synaptics USA

Global Supply Chains for OLED Displays

Silica Sand

  1. Sibelico (Belgium)
  2. US Silica (US)
  3. Emerge Energy (US)
  4. Badger Mining (US)
  5. Wuxi Quechen Silicon Chemical Co. (China)

Display Glass

  1. Corning (US)
  2. Asahi Glass (Japan)
  3. Nippon Electric Glass (Japan)

IC Driver

  1. Samsung (South Korea)
  2. Novatek (Taiwan)
  3. Himax (Taiwan)
  4. Silicon Works (South Korea)
  5. Synaptics (US)

OLED Materials

  1. UDC (US)
  2. Dow DuPont (US)
  3. Merck (US)
  4. Idemitsu Kosan (Japan)
  5. LG Chem (South Korea)

QLED, QDLED, QDOLED, Mini-LED, Micro-LED: What is in the name?


Micro LED and Mini LED

MicroLED is the next generation of display technology. Just like OLED, it produces its own light and therefore is capable of infinite contrast ratio. However, since it doesn’t use organic materials, it won’t deteriorate or burn-in over time.

What’s more, MicroLED displays will be brighter than OLED displays, and you will be able to customize their size, aspect ratio, and resolution (modular displays).

Mini-LED, on the other hand, improves on the existing LCDs by replacing their LED backlights with mini-LED backlights, which consist of more efficient and numerous light-emitting diodes that will increase contrast ratio, uniformity, response time, etc.

Although similar in name, microLED and mini-LED technologies are fundamentally diverse.

What is MicroLED?

MicroLED is the leading-edge display technology that is yet to be adjusted to the consumer market; in simpler terms, it’s the display technology of the not-so-distant future.

Similarly to OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology, MicroLED doesn’t rely on a backlight to produce light. Instead, it uses self-emissive microscopic LEDs, which allow for infinite contrast ratio, just like on OLED displays.

However, unlike OLED, MicroLED technology has no organic materials, so it won’t degrade over time, and you won’t have to worry about image burn-in.

Further, MicroLED displays are capable of higher luminance emission in comparison to OLEDs, which will allow for better details in highlights of the picture for a superior HDR (High Dynamic Range) viewing experience.

Lastly, they can have a unique modular characteristic that would allow you to customize the display’s screen size, resolution, and aspect ratio to your liking by arranging and connecting more panels together.Shop Related Products

What is Mini-LED?

Mini-LED technology improves on the existing LCDs.

It replaces their LED backlights with Mini-LED backlights, which consist of more LEDs that can offer a higher contrast ratio, better uniformity, faster response times, etc.

Mini-LED displays will be cheaper than OLEDs, but not better than them. So, Mini-LED is sort of a display technology in-between the standard LED-backlight LCDs and OLED displays.

The ASUS PG27UQX will feature 2,304 mini LEDs divided into 576 zones (4 LEDs per zone), whereas the original model has 384 zones for local dimming in comparison.

This will significantly alleviate one of the main issues of the PG27UQ, which is image bloom/halo.

When one zone is fully illuminated, but the zones surrounding it are dim, a certain amount of light will bleed from the lit zone to the dim zones, which generates the halo/bloom effect.

Since the PG27UQX has more zones, this issue will be decreased by ~33%. At the same time, the monitor will consume 7% less power and be (relatively) only slightly pricier than the PG27UQ model.


The Display Landscape of Mini- and Micro-LEDs

First there was LED (light emitting diode) display technology, commercialized in 1994. OLED (organic LED) products came on the market in 1997. Then microLEDs began to emerge in 2010. And now we’ve been hearing about a new display technology category: miniLEDs, poised to enter the market in 2019.1

As the name would imply, a miniLED is small—but not as small as a microLED (µLED). While there are no official definitions, microLEDs are typically less than 50 micrometers (µm) square, with most falling in the 3–15 µm size range. Generally, the term miniLED (sometimes also called “sub-millimeter light emitting diodes”) refers to LEDs that are roughly 100 µm square (0.1 mm square), although “mini” can also simply describe any LED between micro and traditional size.

LED landscape as of 2018. Image Source: “MiniLED for Display Applications: LCD and Digital Signage” report by Yole Développement, October 2018.

Though they share many similarities, miniLEDs and microLEDs are also different in some key ways. MicroLEDs are not just shrunken versions of their miniLED sisters. The two LED types have different performance and structures. LEDinside characterized the difference as follows: “Micro LED is a new-generation display technology, a miniaturized LED with matrix. In simple terms, the LED backlight is thinner, miniaturized, and arrayed, with the LED unit smaller than 100 micrometers. Each pixel is individually addressed and driven to emit light (self-emitting), just like OLED…Mini LED is a transitional technology between traditional LED and Micro LED, and is an improved version of traditional LED backlight.”2

Additionally, a driving factor in the recent emergence of miniLEDs is that they are less expensive to produce, largely because current fabrication facilities can more quickly be switched over to miniLED production. MiniLEDs are essentially a variation of already mature LED technology.

MicroLED Fabrication Challenges

MicroLEDs are typically made from Gallium-nitride-based LED materials, which create brighter displays (many times brighter than OLED) with much greater efficiency than traditional LEDs. This makes them attractive for applications that need both brightness and efficiency such as smart watches, and particularly for head-up displays (HUDs) and augmented reality systems that are likely to be viewed against ambient light backgrounds

OLED screen manufacturing has been somewhat costly to date, limiting its adoption primarily to smaller screen sizes like smart phones. Likewise, producing an entire television screen out of microLED chips has so far proven to be challenging. MicroLEDs require new assembly technologies, die structure, and manufacturing infrastructure. For commercialization, fabricators must find methods that yield high quality with microscopic accuracy while also achieving mass-production speeds. For starters, a miniLED backlight screen may be made up of thousands of individual miniLED units; a microLED screen is composed of millions of tiny LEDs.

To fabricate a display, each individual microLED must be transferred to a backplane that holds the array of units in place. The transfer equipment used to place microLED units is required to have a high degree of precision, with placement accurate to within +/- 1.5 µm. Existing pick & place LED assembly equipment can only achieve +/- 34 µm accuracy (multi-chip per transfer). Flip chip bonders typically feature accuracy of +/-1.5 µm—but only for a single unit at a time. Both of these traditional LED transfer methods are not accurate enough for mass production of microLEDs. 

New transfer solutions are under development, including fluid assembly, laser transfer, and roller transfer. Researchers are also working to resolve the challenges associated with integrating compound semiconductor microLEDs with silicon-based integrated circuit devices that have very different material properties and fabrication processes. Traditional chip bonding and wafer bonding processes don’t provide efficient mass transfer for microLED, so various thin-film-transfer technologies are being explored.

Despite Samsung’s introduction of a prototype 75-inch microLED television at the recent CES show (below), microLED products are not expected to reach the general market until 2021.3

Han Jong-hee, president of Samsung Electronics’s video display business, introduces a new 75-inch microLED TV in Las Vegas on January 6, 2019. Photo Source: Business Korea

MiniLED Advantages

By contrast, miniLED chips do not present similar production complications. Because they are just smaller versions of traditional LEDs, they can be manufactured in existing fabrication facilities with minimal reconfiguration. This ease means miniLED production is already underway and devices will reach the market this year for applications in gaming displays and signage, followed by backlight products such as smartphones, TVs, virtual reality devices, and automotive displays.

For example, miniLEDs can be used to upgrade existing LCD displays with “ultra-thin, multi-zone local dimming backlight units (BLU) that enable form factors and contrast performance”4 that rival the quality of OLED displays. MiniLEDs also have an advantage as a cost-effective solution for narrow-pixel-pitch LED direct-view displays such as indoor and outdoor digital signage applications.

MiniLED backlight television from Chinese manufacturer TLC displayed at CES 2019. Photo Source: FlatpanelsHD.

 MicroLEDs do offer high luminous efficiency, brightness, contrast, reliability and a short response time, but they are likely to be priced at more than three times traditional LED screens during initial the initial stages of mass production. MiniLEDs, while they perform more like traditional LEDs, do have advantages when it comes to HDR and notched or curved display designs, and could launch at just 20% above standard LCD panel prices.5 According to PCWorld, “at this stage, the biggest difference between microLED and miniLED for consumers is that microLED is likely to make it to market as a fully-fledged next-generation display technology of its own while miniLED is likely to mostly be used by manufacturers to enhance existing display technologies.”6

Together, microLEDs and miniLEDs are expected to have roughly equal shares of a $1.3 billion market by 2022.7

Quality Assurance for All LED Types

Whether LED or OLED, micro- or mini-, LED display products of all types are jostling for room in a highly competitive marketplace, where customers expect a perfect viewing experience right out of the box. Defects, variations in color or brightness, and other irregularities can quickly deflate buyer satisfaction,  hurt brand reputation, and erode market share.

To ensure the absolute quality of OLED- and LED-based devices, Radiant’s ProMetric® Imaging Photometers and Colorimeters measure display performance and uniformity down to the pixel and subpixel level, matching the acuity and discernment of human visual perception.


  1. YiningChen, “Mini LED Applications to be Launched in 2019 and Micro LED Displays in 2021.” LEDinside, October 19, 2018.  LINK
  2. Evangeline H, “Difference between Micro LED and Mini LED.” LEDinside,May 8, 2018. LINK
  3. YiningChen, “Mini LED Applications to be Launched in 2019 and Micro LED Displays in 2021.” LEDinside, October 19, 2018.  LINK
  4. “MiniLED for Display Applications: LCD and Digital Signage” report by Yole Développement, October 2018, as reported in “Mini-LED adoption driven by high-end LCD displays and narrow-pixel-pitch LED direct-view digital signage”. Semiconductor Today, November 28, 2018. LINK
  5. Evangeline H, “Difference between Micro LED and Mini LED.” LEDinside,May 8, 2018. LINK
  6. Halliday, F. “MicroLED vs Mini-LED: What’s the difference?” PCWorld, September 11, 2018. LINK
  7. YiningChen, “Micro LED & Mini LED Market Expects Explosive Business Opportunities, with an Estimated market Value of $1.38 Billion by 2022”. LEDinside (a division of market research company TrendForce), June 20, 2018. LINK


Source: Environmentally friendly quantum-dot color filters for ultra-high-definition liquid crystal displays

Source: Samsung Displays – Public Information Display

QLED – Quantum Dot LED

QLED stands for Quantum Dot Light-Emitting Diode, also referred to as quantum dot-enhanced LCD screen. While similar in working principle to conventional LCDs, QLEDs are using the properties of quantum dot particles to advance color purity and improve display efficiency. Quantum dots are integrated with the backlight system of the LCD screen, most commonly with the help of Quantum Dot Enhancement Film (QDEF) that takes place of the diffuser film. Blue LEDs illuminate the film, and quantum dots output the appropriate color, based on their size.

OLED – Organic LED

OLED stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode, which is self-emitting. Not all OLEDs are using the same tech though. The OLED technology used in phone screens is RGB-OLED, which is completely different from the White OLED (also referred to as W-OLED) used in TVs and large format displays.


RGB-OLEDs use individual sub-pixels emitting red, green, and blue light. RGB-OLEDs yield excellent color reproduction but are unfit for performance requirements of large format displays. With the evolution of materials and a difference in use cases comparing to TVs, RGB-OLED is a preferred technology for the smartphone use.

White OLEDs, in turn, emit white light, which then is passed through a color filter to generate red, green, and blue—similar to how LCDs function. Modern W-OLED color filters use RGBW (red, green, blue, white) structure, adding an additional white sub-pixel to the standard RGB to improve on the power efficiency, enhance brightness, and to mitigate issues with the OLED burn-in. Although having more complex circuit requirements than LCDs (emission is current-driven rather than voltage-driven), W-OLEDs can be utilized for large-scale displays.

QD-OLED vs OLED vs QLED vs Mini LED TVs: What’s the difference?

Deepak SinghFebruary 2, 2021

Quantum Dot OLED TVs are expected to finally go real in 2021. As the name suggests, these TV displays will use Quantum Dot technology to enhance and improve the existing OLED panels. 

How exactly are QD-OLED displays different from current OLED display panels manufactured by LG Displays and from Samsungs existing QLED TVs? The next year will also see a surge in mini LED TVs which will be priced a little below OLED TVs. So let’s compare these different TV technologies to better understand which one is better and why. 

OLED on TVs and OLED on Phones are not the same 

To understand the difference between these display technologies and why they exist, it must first be cleared that the OLED displays on TVs are not the same as OLED displays on phones. 

On your phones, the OLED panels have red, green, and blue subpixels that are self-emissive or emit their own red, green, and blue colors – and can be individually powered on or powered off. 

Making similar OLED panels for large TVs with individual Red, Green and Blue subpixels, however, poses several manufacturing and longevity challenges. In fact, only one such TV was ever launched – the Samsung KE55S9C 55-inch UHD OLED- which was introduced in 2013. 

Samsung KE55S9C 55-inch UHD OLED TV with true RGB colors

The technology wasn’t scalable for larger resolution or bigger displays and thus Samsung shifted to Quantum Dots based QLED technology for its premium TVs. 

Meanwhile, LG Displays developed OLED for TVs where all subpixels are white and not RGB.

The white OLED light is achieved by using Blue and Yellow substrate. Different colors for four sub-pixels (R, G, B, W) are achieved by using a RGBW color filter layer over the essentially white OLED subpixels.  This works because a single color OLED panel is easier to manufacture and decays uniformly – which is to say that your TV will age to be less bright but the backplane light shall still remain uniformly blue or uniformly yellow. 

The color filter film used in front of OLED subpixels, however, is not an ideal solution. The filters work by blocking particular colors of light thus reducing brightness, and as the Blue OLED material decays over time, Red, Green, and Blue colors are affected differentially (the decay is not the same for all three colors resulting in color shifts, burn-in and other issues). 

QD OLED or Quantum Dot OLED TVs aim to fix these issues by using a quantum dots layer for color conversion instead of a color filter.

Also Read: Best 4K TVs to buy in India 

What are Quantum Dots and why they are better than color filters?

Quantum dots are small nanocrystals. When a high-energy light photon strikes quantum dots, they absorb it and emit a new photon. The color of this emitted photon depends on the size of the quantum dot – so manufacturers have to use the same material (just different sizes) for all colors, which makes manufacturing simpler and helps with uniform aging. 

Source: Nanosys

In TVs, Quantum Dots are excited by higher energy or lower wavelength light than the emission color of the dot. To excite green and red color quantum dots, TV manufacturers thus use blue light and for blue subpixels, they let the blue light pass through as-is.

The same result can perhaps be obtained by using blue, red and green quantum dots and exciting them using ultraviolet light.  However, Blue quantum dots are not as easy to develop as green and red (Samsung does have blue Quantum dot technology, but it is not yet being used commercially). 

Quantum dots act as an excellent color converter and have almost 100 percent quantum efficiency. Thus unlike color filters, the Quantum dots layer doesn’t block lights of particular wavelengths or colors and let the entire luminance pass through.

QD-OLED vs OLED: Why QD-OLED displays are better

QD-OLED TV Layers (source: Nanosys)
OLED TV layers

As mentioned above, color conversion in QD-OLED displays is done by quantum dots that are placed or patterned at a sub-pixel level over Blue OLEDs. 

So, we have a blue emissive layer in the backplane where all pixels are blue. And then green and red quantum dot materials are printed on pixels that are needed to be green or red. 

White OLED vs QD -OLED (Source: Nanosys)

Colors are converted on red sub-pixels by red quantum dots and green sub-pixel by green quantum dots. Using this technology, the end result is similar to what you’d get with individual Red, Green, and Blue sub-pixels as with AMOLED displays on phones. 

QD-OLED vs OLED color gamut

Quantum Dots as color converters are highly efficient and way better than color filters that can block up to 60% light. 

Another benefit of this implementation over color filter is that as the Blue OLED lights get dimmer with time, the red and green light getting out of the quantum dots will dim proportionally. 

So, over the lifetime of your TV, its display may get less bright but colors shall remain mostly unaffected. The use of Quantum dot also helps with wider color gamuts with fewer image artifacts, better brightness, and better HDR. 

OLED TVs today use LG Display panels that have a white pixel along with red, green, and blue sub-pixels (and are also referred to as White OLED). This is used for enhancing brightness but reduces color vibrance. Upcoming QD-OLED panels will, in a way, re-instate RGB OLED with deeper, brighter, and more vibrant colors. 

OLED technology is known to have problems with aging, but the current crop of OLED TVs handle this remarkably well. There are negligent chances that users will face issues like OLED burn-ins over a life span of 5 to 8 years. 

Disadvantages of QD-OLED Displays

We discussed a few theoretical advantages of QD OLED above and let’s now talk about some disadvantages of the technology. 

Samsung is currently developing QD OLED panels that we will see in the first wave of QD OLED televisions and they won’t be perfect.

One problem is that Quantum dots on the QD OLED TVs get excited by UV light falling on the TV from the outside. Secondly, Quantum Dot color conversion materials don’t always capture the entire blue light that is used to excite them and some of it may bleed into Red and Green subpixels. 

To counter these problems, Samsung Displays is likely to use some sort of color filter which is likely to be eliminated as we progress to second or third-generation QD-OLED panels. It remains to be seen how much brightness penalty is incurred meanwhile. 

QLED vs QD-OLED: What’s different?
QLED layers

Now that we have discussed how Quantum dots are enhancing existing OLED TVs, you might be wondering how the Quantum Dot technology is implemented on existing Samsung QLED TVs.

Unlike QD-OLED TVs, QLED TVs use Quantum dots as a backplane technology behind the LCD. 

A QLED TV works just like LCD TVs, but a Quantum Dot Enhancement Film( QDEF) is used in front of the Blue LED backlight to convert portions of the blue light to Red and Green in order to get pure White light. This helps enhance brightness and achieve a wider color gamut for better HDR performance.

QLED TVs are better at avoiding the backlight bleed into the display colors as compared to conventional LED or mini LED TVs. Samsung’s high-end QLED models can also get brighter than TV OLED displays. Color conversion is still done using a color filter in front of the LCD module. 

And what about Mini LEDs?

LED TVs don’t have self-emissive pixels and it’s not possible to turn off individual pixels. The LCD substrate merely blocks the white light from the backlight to portray blacks, resulting in slightly greyish blacks more noticeable in dark ambiance. The contrast and black level can however be improved by turning off a portion or zone of the backlight. 

That’s where mini LED TVs come in. These TVs have an array of mini LEDs behind the screen which can be individually turned off for a section of the screen. These mini LEDs don’t map pixels one to one, but having more zones helps with better local dimming control and thus enhances quality over conventional edge-lit LED displays. 

Manufacturers are working on adding quantum dot enhancements to microLED backlighting as well (similar to QD enhancements in QLED TVs). 

When will we see QD OLED TVs? 

Samsung Displays is manufacturing QD-OLED displays but Samsung Electronics isn’t keen on adopting the technology. That’s because Samsung has been marketing QLED as superior to OLED panels for years and transitioning back to OLED or OLED-based TVs will make them lose face. 

QD OLED panels are however being provided to a number of other manufacturers including Sony and we will most probably see QD-OLED TVs in 2021.


Source: Inkjet printed uniform quantum dots as color conversion layers for full-color OLED displays

Quantum dots (QDs) have shown great potential for next generation displays owing to their fascinating optoelectronic characteristics. In this work, we present a novel full-color display based on blue organic light emitting diodes (BOLEDs) and patterned red and green QD color conversion layers (CCLs). To enable efficient blue-to-green or blue-to-red photoconversion, micrometer-thick QD films with a uniform surface morphology are obtained by utilizing UV-induced polymerization. The uniform QD layers are directly inkjet printed on red and green color filters to further eliminate the residual blue emissions. Based on this QD-BOLED architecture, a 6.6-inch full-color display with 95% Broadcasting Service Television 2020 (BT.2020) color gamut and wide viewing-angles is successfully demonstrated. The inkjet printing method introduced in this work provides a cost-effective way to extend the applications of QDs for full-color displays.

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Key Sources of Research

Light responsive liquid crystal soft matters: structures, properties, and applications

Dae-Yoon Kim & Kwang-Un Jeong

Dae-Yoon Kim & Kwang-Un Jeong (2019)

Liquid Crystals Today, 28:2, 34-45, DOI: 10.1080/1358314X.2019.1653588


Joseph A Castellano PhD

Liquid Crystals Today, 1:1, 4-6, DOI: 10.1080/13583149108628568

The fiftieth anniversary of the liquid crystal display 

J. Cliff Jones

Liquid Crystals Today, 27:3, 44-70, DOI: 10.1080/1358314X.2018.1529129

Advanced liquid crystal displays with supreme image qualities

Haiwei Chen & Shin-Tson Wu

Liquid Crystals Today, 28:1, 4-11, DOI: 10.1080/1358314X.2019.1625138

Plenary Lecture. Some pictures of the history of liquid crystals

Hans Kelker  & Peter M. Knoll Pages 19-42 | Published online: 24 Sep 2006

Liquid crystal display and organic light-emitting diode display: present status and future perspectives

Hai-Wei Chen1, Jiun-Haw Lee2, Bo-Yen Lin2, Stanley Chen3 and Shin-Tson Wu1

Light: Science & Applications (2018) 7, 17168; doi:10.1038/lsa.2017.168

Going beyond the limit of an LCD’s color gamut 

Hai-Wei Chen1, Rui-Dong Zhu1, Juan He1, Wei Duan2, Wei Hu2, Yan-Qing Lu2, Ming-Chun Li3, Seok-Lyul Lee3, Ya-Jie Dong1,4 and Shin-Tson Wu1

Light: Science & Applications (2017) 6, e17043; doi:10.1038/lsa.2017.43’s-color-gamut-Chen-Zhu/523719d14139b9a9e8ada8c1599ac9aa8f67c8ec

An overview about monitors colors rendering

January 2010


WSEAS Transactions on Circuits and Systems 9(1)

The History of Liquid-Crystal Displays


LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)

What is QLED? Samsung’s quantum dot TV tech explained

By Henry St Leger

OLED vs QLED: the premium TV panel technologies compared

By Henry St Leger

Liquid Crystals Displays


The Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) Technology Turns 50

Color Reproduction Characteristics of Liquid Crystal Display Panels and New Compensation Methods for Them

Yukio Okano* Nozomu Shiotani*





OCTOBER 28 2008

Color science of nanocrystal quantum dots for lighting and displays

De Gruyter | 2013

Structural Colors for Display and E-paper Applications

L. Jay Guo

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA;jsessionid=4ECB722ACF8896CFECA475935B750BD0?sequence=1

The Liquid Crystal Display Story

50 Years of Liquid Crystal R&D that lead The Way to the Future

Editors: Koide, Naoyuki (Ed.)

Book 2014

Chemistry On Display

Katherine Bourzac, contributor to C&EN

How Liquid Crystal Displays Work in an eWriter

By Monica Kanojia May 04, 2012

Liquid Crystalline materials used in LCD display

Electrophoretic liquid crystal displays: How far are we?

Susanne Klein

HP Laboratories HPL-2013-23

Who will win the future of display technologies?

By Hepeng Jia

National Science Review

5: 427–431, 2018 doi: 10.1093/nsr/nwy050

Advance access publication 23 April 2018


John Mani Kumar Jupalli

MS Thesis

Univ of Nevada 2010

From the theory of liquid crystals to LCD-displays

Nobel Price in Physics 1991: Pierre-Gilles de Gennes

Alexander Kleinsorge FHI Berlin, Dec. 7th 2004

Quantum Dot Display Technology and Comparison with OLED Display Technology

Askari Mohammad Bagher

Visual gamma correction for LCD displays

Kaida Xiao a,⇑, Chenyang Fu a, Dimosthenis Karatzas b, Sophie Wuerger a

Displays 32 (2011) 17–23

Mini-LED, Micro-LED and OLED displays: present status and future perspectives

December 2020

Light: Science & Applications 9(1)

Mini-LED and Micro-LED: Promising Candidates for the Next Generation Display Technology

Mini-LED, Micro-LED and OLED displays: present status and future perspectives

Yuge Huang, En-Lin Hsiang, Ming-Yang Deng & Shin-Tson Wu

Light: Science & Applications

volume 9, Article number: 105 (2020)

Prospects and challenges of mini‐LED and micro‐LED displays

Yuge Huang Guanjun Tan SID
Fangwang Gou Ming‐Chun Li Seok‐Lyul Lee Shin‐Tson Wu

The Display Landscape of Mini- and MicroLEDs

Mon, January 21, 2019


François Templier
Strategic Marketing, Displays and Displays Systems Optics and Photonics Department

CEA-LETI, Grenoble , France

How to Know the Differences Between an LED Display and LCD Monitor

Zach Cabading|May 11, 2020

Colorimetric Characterization of
Three Computer Displays (LCD and CRT)

Jason E. Gibson and Mark D. Fairchild January, 2000

Display Considerations for Improved Night Vision Performance

Allan G. RempelRafał Mantiuk1,2 Wolfgang Heidrich1 1The University of British Columbia, 2Bangor University

Liquid Crystal Display: Environment & Technology Ankita Tyagi1, Dr. S. Chatterjee 2

1Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Electronics and Information Technology Ministry of Communication and Information Technology New Delhi, India,%20No.%207,%20July%202013/Liquid%20Crystal%20Display.pdf

A Study on Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) in Optoelectronics

Research Paper (Postgraduate), 2011

Color Converting Film With Quantum-Dots for the Liquid Crystal Displays Based on Inkjet Printing

Volume 11, Number 3, June 2019

Bing-Le Huang Tai-Liang Guo Sheng Xu Yun Ye. En-Guo Chen Zhi-Xian Lin

Development of Color Resists Containing Novel Dyes for Liquid Crystal Displays

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)

James Fergason, a Pioneer in Advancing of Liquid Crystal Technology

Amelia Carolina Sparavigna

Understand color science to maximize success with LEDs

Understand color science to maximize success with LEDs – part 2

Understand color science to maximize success with LEDs – part 3

Understand color science to maximize success with LEDs – part 4

Full-color micro-LED display with high color stability using semipolar (20-21) InGaN LEDs and quantum-dot photoresist

High performance color‐converted micro‐LED displays

Fangwang Gou  | En‐Lin Hsiang  | Guanjun Tan  | Yi‐Fen Lan | Cheng‐Yeh Tsai | Shin‐Tson Wu

J Soc Inf Display. 2019;27:199–206.

Plasmonic Metasurfaces with Conjugated Polymers for Flexible Electronic Paper in Color

27 September 2016

Flexible electronic ‘paper’ display color spectrum rivals LED and uses less energy

Plasmonic Color Makes a Comeback

ACS Cent. Sci. 2020, 6, 332−335

Performance of reflective color displays in Out Of Home applications


How Does a Color Changing LED Work

The science of colour is upending our relationship with screens

Then and Now: The History of Display and LED Technology

Konica Minolta

A Novel RGBW Pixel for LED Displays

Year: 2008, Volume: 1, Pages: 407-411

LED Color Mixing: Basics and Background

Color Part 2:
Color Spaces and Color Perception 

by Roger N. Clark

Color Science


High performance color‐converted micro‐LED displays

Fangwang GouEn-Lin Hsiang, +3 authors S. Wu

Published 2019 Journal of The Society for Information Display

Choosing a Light and Color Measurement System for LEDs

Color in Electronic Display Systems

Advantages of Multi-primary Displays

Authors: Miller, Michael E.

Book, 2019

Color science of nanocrystal quantum dots for lighting and displays


Talha Erdem and Hilmi Volkan Demir

Nanophotonics 2013; 2(1): 57–81

Full-Color Realization of Micro-LED Displays

Yifan Wu, Jianshe Ma, Ping Su, Lijun Zhang and Bizhong Xia

Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School, Tsinghua University, Shenzhen 518055, China

Nanomaterials 2020, 10(12), 2482;

Variation of LED Display Color Affected by Chromaticity and Luminance of LED Display Primary Colors

Xinyue Mao, Xifeng Zheng, Ruiguang Wang , Hongbin Cheng,1 and Yu Chen

Mathematical Problems in Engineering Volume 2020, Article ID 1612931, 14 pages

Full-color micro-LED display with high color stability using semipolar (20-21) InGaN LEDs and quantum-dot photoresist

Vol. 8, No. 5 / May 2020 / Photonics Research

The Display Landscape of Mini- and MicroLEDs

2019 Radiant Visions

Flat screens show their true colors

Innovative pigments from BASF improve television image quality


Merck KGaA

Comparative Evaluation of Color Characterization and Gamut of LCDs versus CRTs

Gaurav Sharma
Xerox Corp., MS0128-27E, 800 Phillips Rd., Webster, NY 14580

Calibrated color mapping between LCD and CRT displays: A case study

  • December 2005
  • Color Research & Application 30(6):438 – 447

DOI: 10.1002/col.20156

Colorimetric characterization of the Apple studio display (Flat panel LCD)

Mark Fairchild David Wyble

The History of Liquid Crystal Display

Self-assembled plasmonics for angle-independent structural color displays with actively addressed black states

Daniel Franklin, Ziqian He, Pamela Mastranzo Ortega, Alireza Safaei, Pablo Cencillo-Abad,  Shin-Tson Wu, and Debashis Chanda

PNAS June 16, 2020 117 (24) 13350-13358; first published June 3, 2020;

Liquid Crystals in Displays

MIT Open Course ware

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)

Liquid crystal display and organic light-emitting diode display: present status and future perspectives

Hai-Wei Chen1, Jiun-Haw Lee2, Bo-Yen Lin2, Stanley Chen3 and Shin-Tson Wu1

Color Converting Film With Quantum-Dots for the Liquid Crystal Displays Based on Inkjet Printing

B. Huang, T. Guo, S. Xu, Y. Ye, E. Chen and Z. Lin,

in IEEE Photonics Journal, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 1-9, June 2019, Art no. 7000609,

doi: 10.1109/JPHOT.2019.2911308.

CRT Versus LCD Monitors for Soft Proofifing: Quantitative and Visual Considerations


(2003). Master’s Theses. 4982.

A Color Gamut Description Algorithm for Liquid Crystal Displays in CIELAB Space

Bangyong Sun,1,2 Han Liu,2 Wenli Li,1 and Shisheng Zhou1

Hindawi Publishing Corporation
e Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 671964, 9 pages

Colour Characterisation of LCD Display Systems

Marjan Vazirian

PhD Thesis

School of Design The University of Leeds

Camouflaging metamaterials create the LCD color display of the future

The secret: precision placement of plasmonic aluminum nanorods

September 16, 2014

Vivid, full-color aluminum plasmonic pixels

Jana Olson, Alejandro Manjavacas, Lifei Liu, Wei-Shun Chang, Benjamin Foerster, Nicholas S. King, Mark W. Knight, Peter Nordlander, Naomi J. Halas, and Stephan Link

PNAS first published September 15, 2014;

Contributed by Naomi J. Halas, August 19, 2014 (sent for review June 16, 2014)

Who will win the future of display technologies?

By Hepeng Jia

National Science Review 5: 427–431, 2018

doi: 10.1093/nsr/nwy050

Advance access publication 23 April 2018

Wide color gamut LCD with a quantum dot backlight

Zhenyue Luo, Yuan Chen, and Shin-Tson Wu

Full-Color Realization of Micro-LED Displays 

by Yifan WuJianshe MaPing Su *Lijun Zhang and Bizhong Xia

Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School, Tsinghua University, Shenzhen 518055, China

Nanomaterials202010(12), 2482;

Received: 25 October 2020 / Revised: 23 November 2020 / Accepted: 7 December 2020 / Published: 10 December 2020

Color science of nanocrystal quantum dots for lighting and displays

DOI: 10.1515/nanoph-2012-0031

Plasmonic Color Makes a Comeback

The phenomenon behind the earliest photographs is inspiring new research in color printing and displays.

  • Rachel Brazil

ACS Cent. Sci. 2020, 6, 3, 332–335Publication Date:March 16, 2020

Plasmonic Metasurfaces with Conjugated Polymers for Flexible Electronic Paper in Color

Kunli Xiong Gustav Emilsson Ali Maziz Xinxin Yang Lei Shao Edwin W. H. Jager. Andreas B. Dahlin

First published: 27 September 2016

Merck KGaA Germany

Pigments for Color Filters Used in LCDs and OLED Displays(Functional Pigments)

DIC Global

Development of Color Resists Containing Novel Dyes for Liquid Crystal Displays

Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd.
IT-Related Chemicals Research Laboratory


Flat screens show their true colors


Color filter-less technology of LED back light for LCD-TV – art. no. 68410G

DOI: 10.1117/12.760045

Synthesis and Characterization of Modified Dyes for Dye-Based LCD Color Filters

Cheol Jun Song , Wang Yao  & Jae Yun Jaung Pages 115-124 | Published online: 16 Dec 2013

Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals
Volume 583, 2013 – Issue 1: Proceedings of the Advanced Display Materials and Devices 2012 (ADMD 2012)

A study on the fluorescence property and the solubility of the perylene derivatives and their application on the LCD color filter

Jeong Yun Kim

Synthesis and characterization of novel triazatetrabenzcorrole dyes for LCD color filter and black matrix

JunChoi WoosungLee Jin Woong NamgoongTae-Min KimJae PilKim

Dyes and Pigments
Volume 99, Issue 2, November 2013, Pages 357-365



2015 Univ of Central Florida PhD Thesis

A Simple Filter Could Make LCDs More Efficient

The new approach wastes far less light, saving 

  • Katherine Bourzac
  • 2010

Past, present, and future of WCG technology in display

Musun Kwak | Younghoon Kim | Sanghun Han | Ahnki Kim | Sooin Kim | Seungbeom Lee | Mike Jun | Inbyeong Kang

Color Team, Panel Performance Division, LG Display, LG Science Park, Seoul, Korea

Musun Kwak, Color Team, Panel Performance Division, LG Display, LG Science Park, Magokjungang, Gangseogu, 10‐ro, Seoul, Korea.

Improving the Color Gamut of a Liquid-crystal Display by Using a Bandpass Filter

Yan Sun1, Chi Zhang1, Yanling Yang1, Hongmei Ma1, and Yubao Sun1,2

Current Optics and Photonics 

ISSN: 2508-7266(Print) / ISSN: 2508-7274(Online) 

Vol. 3, No. 6, December 2019, pp. 590-596

Environmentally friendly quantum-dot color filters for ultra-high-definition liquid crystal displays

Yun-Hyuk Ko, Prem Prabhakaran, Sinil Choi, Gyeong-Ju Kim, Changhee Lee & Kwang-Sup Lee

Scientific Reports volume 10, Article number: 15817 (2020)

Color filter technology for liquid crystal displays

Ram W Sabnis


Volume 20, Issue 3, 29 November 1999, Pages 119-129

Designs of High Color Purity RGB Color Filter for Liquid Crystal Displays Applications Using Fabry–Perot Etalons

DOI: 10.1109/JDT.2011.2172914

Synthesis of yellow pyridonylazo colorants and their application in dye–pigment hybrid colour filters for liquid crystal display

Jong Min Park, Chang Young Jung, Wang Yao, Cheol Jun Song and Jae Yun Jaung*

Department of Organic and Nano Engineering, Hanyang University, 222 Wangsimni-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul, 133791, South Korea

Received: 9 June 2015; Accepted: 29 September 2015

A study on the fluorescence property and the solubility of the perylene derivatives and their application on the LCD color filter

Jeong Yun Kim 2017

Colour filters for LCDs


Dai Nippon Printing Co. Ltd, 1-5 Kiyokucho, Kuki City, Saitama Prefecture 346, Japan


Volume 14, Issue 2, April 1993, Pages 115-124

Liquid crystal display and organic light-emitting diode display: present status and future perspectives

Light: Science & Applications

volume 7, page17168(2018)

Synthesis and Characterization of Modified Dyes for Dye-Based LCD Color Filters

Cheol Jun Song , Wang Yao  & Jae Yun Jaung Pages 115-124 | Published online: 16 Dec 2013

Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals
Volume 583, 2013 – Issue 1: Proceedings of the Advanced Display Materials and Devices 2012 (ADMD 2012)

Textile materials inspired by structural colour in nature

Celina Jones, Franz J. Wortmann, Helen F. Gleeson and Stephen G. Yeatesc

RSC Adv., 2020,10, 24362-24367!divAbstract

Structure of Color Filters

Toppan Printing Company Japan

Quantum Dot Conversion Layers Through Inkjet Printing

Ernest Lee, Ravi Tangirala, Austin Smith, Amanda Carpenter, Charlie Hotz, Heejae Kim, Jeff Yurek, Takayuki Miki*, Sunao Yoshihara*, Takeo Kizaki*, Aya Ishizuka*, Ikuro Kiyoto*

Nanosys, Inc., Milpitas, CA

*DIC Corporation, Sakura, Chiba, JAPAN

Colors with plasmonic nanostructures: A full-spectrum review 

Applied Physics Reviews 6, 041308 (2019);

Maowen Song1,2 Di Wang1 Samuel Peana1Sajid Choudhury1 Piotr Nyga1,3Zhaxylyk A. Kudyshev1Honglin Yu2Alexandra Boltasseva1Vladimir M. Shalaev1, and Alexander V. Kildishev1,a)

Transmissive/Reflective structural color filters: theory and applications

Journal of Nanomaterials January 2014  Article No.: 6

Review of nanostructure color filters Felix Gildas and Yaping Dan*

University of Michigan–Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute, Shanghai, China

J. Nanophoton. 13(2), 020901 (2019), doi: 10.1117/1.JNP.13.020901.

Nanostructured Color Filters: A Review of Recent Developments

Ayesha Shaukat,1,2Frazer Noble,1 and  Khalid Mahmood Arif1,*

Nanomaterials (Basel). 2020 Aug; 10(8): 1554.

Bright and Vivid Diffractive-Plasmonic Structural Colors

Transmissive metamaterial color filters

Yoshiaki Kanamori, Daisuke Ema, and Kazuhiro Hane

JSAP-OSA Joint Symposia 2017 Abstracts(Optical Society of America, 2017),paper 5p_A410_5

Three-terminal RGB full-color OLED pixels for ultrahigh density displays

Scientific Reports volume 8, Article number: 9684 (2018)

Application organic pigment for color filter of LCD

Emperor Chemicals China–9.html

Liquid-crystal tunable color filters based on aluminum metasurfaces

Zu-Wen Xie, Jhen-Hong Yang, Vishal Vashistha, Wei Lee, and Kuo-Ping Chen

Optics ExpressVol. 25,Issue 24,pp. 30764-30770(2017)

Preparation of Colour Filter Photo Resists for Improving Colour Purity in Liquid Crystal Displays by Synthesis of Polymeric Binder
and Treatment of Pigments

Chun Yoonand Jae-hong Choi

Department ofChemistry, Sejong University, Seoul 143-747, Korea. *E-mail: ‘Department of Textile System Engineering, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 702-701, Korea Received May 04, 2009, Accepted July 03, 2009

Bull. Korean Chem. Soc. 2009, Vol. 30, No. 8


By Michael Cassera 9. June 2020

Image Display Technology

Past, present, and future of WCG technology in display

Musun Kwak Younghoon Kim Sanghun Han Ahnki Kim Sooin Kim Seungbeom Lee Mike Jun Inbyeong Kang

 First published: 02 October 2019 

Volume27, Issue11 November 2019. Pages 691-699

Panel Technologies

Simon Baker, updated  17 March 2015

LED Backlighting

Simon Baker, 11 November 2010

The Evolution of LED Backlights

Author: Adam Simmons
Last updated: February 8th 2021

OLED Production: Composition and Color Patterning Techniques

Last updated on January 22, 2020

OLED Color Patterning Technologies

Book Author(s): Takatoshi TsujimuraFirst published: 04 March 2017 

OLED Display Fundamentals and Applications, Second Edition

OLED Technologies

Tohoku Pioneer Corporation

Directly Patterened 2645 PPI Full Color OLED Microdisplay for Head Mounted Wearables

DOI: 10.1002/sdtp.10805

The Progress of QD Color Filters

19.2: Color Filter Formulations for Full‐Color OLED Displays: High Color Gamut Plus Improved Efficiency and Lifetime

Margaret J. HelberPaula J. AlessiMitchell BurberrySteven EvansM. Christine BrickDonald R. DiehlRonald Cok


First published: 05 July 2012

Can OLED displays be brighter?

Structure of Color Filters

Toyo Visual

QLED vs. W-OLED: TV Display Technology Shoot-Out

Samsung Display

Thin-film transistor-driven vertically stacked full- color organic light-emitting diodes for high- resolution active-matrix displays

Sukyung Choi 1, Chan-mo Kang1, Chun-Won Byun1, Hyunsu Cho1, Byoung-Hwa Kwon1, Jun-Han Han1, Jong-Heon Yang1, Jin-Wook Shin1, Chi-Sun Hwang 1, Nam Sung Cho1, Kang Me Lee1, Hee-Ok Kim1, Eungjun Kim2, Seunghyup Yoo2 & Hyunkoo Lee

Nat Commun. 2020; 11: 2732. Published online 2020 Jun 1.

doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-16551-8

QD-OLED vs OLED vs QLED vs Mini LED TVs: What’s the difference?

By Deepak Singh – Updated On 

Inkjet printed uniform quantum dots as color conversion layers for full-color OLED displays

Zhiping Hu,*abYongming Yin,  abMuhammad Umair Ali,  cWenxiang Peng,bShijie Zhang,bDongze Li,bTaoyu Zou,aYuanyuan Li,bShibo Jiao,bShu-jhih Chen,bChia-Yu Lee,bHong Menga  and  Hang Zhou

Nanoscale, 2020,12, 2103-2110!divAbstract

Understand RGB LED mixing ratios to realize optimal color in signs and displays

Mini-LED vs MicroLED – What Is The Difference?


The Progress of QD Color Filters

What are the different types of RGB LEDs?

OLED Production: Composition and Color Patterning Techniques

OLED Color Patterning Technologies

Book Author(s): Takatoshi Tsujimura

First published: 04 March 2017 

OLED Display Fundamentals and Applications, Second Edition

Can OLED display be brighter?

Structure of Color Filters

QD-OLED vs OLED vs QLED vs Mini LED TVs: What’s the difference?

By Deepak Singh – Updated On 

Liquid crystal display and organic light-emitting diode display: present status and future perspectives

Hai-Wei Chen1, Jiun-Haw Lee2, Bo-Yen Lin2, Stanley Chen3 and Shin-Tson Wu1

Light: Science & Applications (2018) 7, 17168; doi:10.1038/lsa.2017.168

Beyond OLED: Efficient Quantum Dot Light-Emitting Diodes for Display and Lighting Application

Yizhe Sun 1 2Yibin Jiang 2 3Xiao Wei Sun 2Shengdong Zhang 1Shuming Chen 2

Full-Color Realization of Micro-LED Displays

Yifan Wu 1Jianshe Ma 1Ping Su 1Lijun Zhang 1Bizhong Xia 1

Nanomaterials (Basel)
. 2020 Dec 10;10(12):2482.

doi: 10.3390/nano10122482.

Color Converting Film With Quantum-Dots for the Liquid Crystal Displays Based on Inkjet Printing

Volume 11, Number 3, June 2019
IEEE Photonics Journal 

Bing-Le Huang Tai-Liang Guo Sheng Xu Yun Ye. En-Guo Chen Zhi-Xian Lin

Who will win the future of display technologies?

By Hepeng Jia

National Science Review. 5: 427–431, 2018

doi: 10.1093/nsr/nwy050

Wide color gamut LCD with a quantum dot backlight

Zhenyue Luo, Yuan Chen, and Shin-Tson Wu

Optics Express > Volume 21 > Issue 22 > Page 26269

Prospects and challenges of mini‐LED and micro‐LED displays

Yuge Huang | Guanjun Tan | Fangwang Gou | Ming‐Chun Li2 | Seok‐Lyul Lee | Shin‐Tson Wu

J Soc Inf Display. 2019;27:387–401.

Full-color micro-LED display with high color stability using semipolar (20-21) InGaN LEDs and quantum-dot photoresist

Sung-Wen Huang Chen, Yu-Ming Huang, Konthoujam James Singh, Yu-Chien Hsu, Fang-Jyun Liou, Jie Song, Joowon Choi, Po-Tsung Lee, Chien-Chung Lin, Zhong Chen, Jung Han, Tingzhu Wu, and Hao-Chung Kuo

Photonics Research > Volume 8 > Issue 5 > Page 630

Full-Color Realization of Micro-LED Displays

by Yifan Wu, Jianshe Ma, Ping Su *OrcID, Lijun Zhang and Bizhong Xia

Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School, Tsinghua University, Shenzhen 518055, China

Nanomaterials 2020, 10(12), 2482;

Color science of nanocrystal quantum dots for lighting and displays

February 2013. Nanophotonics 2(1):57-81
DOI: 10.1515/nanoph-2012-0031

Project: Colloidal organic and inorganic nanoparticles for lighting and displays

High performance color‐converted micro‐LED display

Fangwang Gou | En‐Lin Hsiang  | Guanjun Tan  | Yi‐Fen Lan | Cheng‐Yeh Tsai | Shin‐Tson Wu


Environmentally friendly quantum-dot color filters for ultra-high-definition liquid crystal displays

Scientific Reports volume 10, Article number: 15817 (2020)

Color filter technology for liquid crystal displays

Ram W Sabnis

Volume 20, Issue 3, 29 November 1999, Pages 119-129

Stretchable and reflective displays: materials, technologies and strategies

Do Yoon Kim, Mi-Ji Kim, Gimin Sung & Jeong-Yun Sun

Nano Convergence volume 6, Article number: 21 (2019)


LCD Basics

Characterization of TFT and LTPS TFT-LCD Display Panels by Spectroscopic Ellipsometry

Display technology explained: A-Si, LTPS, amorphous IGZO, and beyond

LTPS Process


What Is An LTPS LCD?

Mini-LED vs MicroLED – What Is The Difference?



by Joseph A Castellano, PhD Stanford Resources Inc.
PO Box 20324, San Jose, CA 95160

The fiftieth anniversary of the liquid crystal display,

J. Cliff Jones (2018)

Liquid Crystals Today, 27:3, 44-70,

DOI: 10.1080/1358314X.2018.1529129

Plenary Lecture. Some pictures of the history of liquid crystals, 

Hans Kelker & Peter M. Knoll (1989) 

Liquid Crystals, 5:1, 19-42, DOI: 10.1080/02678298908026350

Liquid crystal display and organic light-emitting diode display: present status and future perspectives

Hai-Wei Chen1, Jiun-Haw Lee2, Bo-Yen Lin2, Stanley Chen3 and Shin-Tson Wu1

Light: Science & Applications (2018) 7, 17168; doi:10.1038/lsa.2017.168;

An overview about monitors colors rendering

The History of Liquid-Crystal Displays


From the theory of liquid crystals to LCD-displays

Nobel Price in Physics 1991: Pierre-Gilles de Gennes

Alexander Kleinsorge FHI Berlin, Dec. 7th 2004

Mini-LED, Micro-LED and OLED displays: present status and future perspectives

Light: Science & Applications volume 9, Article number: 105 (2020)

OLED vs QLED: the premium TV panel technologies compared

The Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) Technology Turns 50


The Liquid Crystal Display Story

50 Years of Liquid Crystal R&D that lead The Way to the Future

Editors: Koide, Naoyuki (Ed.)


Chemistry On Display

Katherine Bourzac, contributor to C&EN

Mini-LED, Micro-LED and OLED displays: present status and future perspectives

DOI: 10.1038/s41377-020-0341-9

Mini-LED and Micro-LED: Promising Candidates for the Next Generation Display Technology

DOI: 10.3390/app8091557


François Templier
Strategic Marketing, Displays and Displays Systems Optics and Photonics Department

CEA-LETI, Grenoble , France

Three-terminal RGB full-color OLED pixels for ultrahigh density displays

Scientific Reports volume 8, Article number: 9684 (2018)

Past, present, and future of WCG technology in display

Musun KwakYounghoon KimSanghun HanAhnki KimSooin Kim… See all authors 

First published: 02 October 2019

Thin-film transistor-driven vertically stacked full-color organic light-emitting diodes for high-resolution active-matrix displays

Sukyung Choi,1Chan-mo Kang,1Chun-Won Byun,1Hyunsu Cho,1Byoung-Hwa Kwon,1Jun-Han Han,1Jong-Heon Yang,1Jin-Wook Shin,1Chi-Sun Hwang,1Nam Sung Cho,1Kang Me Lee,1Hee-Ok Kim,1Eungjun Kim,2Seunghyup Yoo,2 and  Hyunkoo Lee1,3

Nat Commun. 2020; 11: 2732. Published online 2020 Jun 1. 

doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-16551-8

Realizing Rec. 2020 color gamut with quantum dot displays

Ruidong Zhu,1 Zhenyue Luo,1 Haiwei Chen,1 Yajie Dong,1,2 and Shin-Tson Wu1,*

1CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida 32816, USA 2NanoScience Technology Center, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida 32826, USA

Full-color micro-LED display with high color stability using semipolar (20-21) InGaN LEDs and quantum-dot photoresist


Vol. 8, No. 5 / May 2020 / Photonics Research

Color Science of Gem Stones

Color Science of Gem Stones

Key Terms

  • Iridescence Orient
  • Play-of-color Labradorescence
  • Chatoyancy (“cat’s-eye”) Asterism
  • Adularescence
  • Aventurescence
  • Change-of- color (“Alexandrite effect”)
  • Pearlescence
  • Opalescence

Causes of Color in Gemstones


Three most common causes of color in gem materials:

  • Dispersed metal ions
  • Charge transfers and other processes that involve multiple ions, and colorcenters.
  • Coloration that are less often seen in gems, such as those that result from physical phenomena (asin opal) or from semiconductor-like properties (as in natural blue diamond).



The most common cause of color in gemstones is the presence of a small amount of a transition metal ion. These transition metal ions have an incomplete set of 3electrons. Changes in the energy of these electrons correspond to the energy of visible light. When white light passes through a colored gemstone or is reflected by it, some of the energy of the visible light is absorbed, causing 3electrons in the transition metal ion to undergo an energy change. The light that is transmitted or reflected appears colored, because those colors corresponding to 3d– electron energy transitions have been absorbed. The table lists several common gemstones, their chemical compositions, colors, and the origins of these colors.

A ruby is a crystal of alumina, aluminum oxide, containing a trace of chromium(III) ions replacing some of the aluminum ions. In ruby, each Al3+ ion and Cr3+ ion is surrounded by six oxide ions in an octahedral arrangement.

GemFormulaColorOrigin of color
RubyAl2O3RedCr3+ replacing Al3+ in octahedral sites
EmeraldBe3Al2(SiO3)6page1image48667408 page1image48670688Greenpage1image48674080Cr3+ replacing Al3+ in octahedral site
AlexandriteAl2BeO4page1image48684352 page1image48679952Red/Greenpage1image46942720Cr3+ replacing Al3+ in octahedral site
GarnetMg3Al2(SiO4)3page1image46978464 page1image46979040Redpage1image46980384Fe2+ replacing Mg2+ in 8- coordinate site
page1image47140576 page1image47141088PeridotMg2SiO4Yellow-greenFe2+