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Publication numberUS20080049441 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/636,568
Publication dateFeb 28, 2008
Filing dateDec 11, 2006
Priority dateAug 22, 2006
Also published asCN101131504A, EP1892563A1, EP1892563B1
Publication number11636568, 636568, US 2008/0049441 A1, US 2008/049441 A1, US 20080049441 A1, US 20080049441A1, US 2008049441 A1, US 2008049441A1, US-A1-20080049441, US-A1-2008049441, US2008/0049441A1, US2008/049441A1, US20080049441 A1, US20080049441A1, US2008049441 A1, US2008049441A1
InventorsWeon Woong Lee
Original AssigneeLg Electronics Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Surface light source device, backlight unit and liquid crystal display having the same
US 20080049441 A1
Abstract
The present invention is directed to a surface light source device utilizing a light pipe. The present invention is also directed to a backlight unit and a liquid crystal display which are provided with such surface light source device. A surface light source device comprises at least one light source generating light; and at least one hollow light pipe, the light pipe includes a first light waveguide unit with structured surface on at least one side; and, a second light waveguide unit with structured surface on at least one side and disposed substantially parallel to the first light waveguide unit, wherein a longitudinal direction of the structured surface of the first light waveguide unit and a longitudinal direction of the structured surface of the second light waveguide unit form a certain angle.
Images(11)
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Claims(21)
1. A liquid crystal display comprising:
a liquid crystal panel displaying images according to electrical signals provided from the outside device; and
a backlight unit for illuminating the liquid crystal panel from the back of the liquid crystal panel, the backlight unit comprising:
a surface light source device for providing surface light, the surface light source device including:
at least one light source generating light; and
at least one hollow light pipe including:
a first light waveguide unit with structured surface on at least one side; and
a second light waveguide unit with structured surface on at least one side and disposed substantially parallel to the first light waveguide unit,
wherein a longitudinal direction of the structured surface of the first light waveguide unit and a longitudinal direction of structured surface of the second light waveguide unit form a certain angle.
2. The liquid crystal display of claim 1, wherein the structured surface includes an array of prisms, wherein the certain angle formed by a longitudinal direction of the prisms of the first light waveguide unit and a longitudinal direction of the prisms of the second light waveguide unit is a substantially right angle.
3. A backlight unit for illuminating a liquid crystal panel from the back of the liquid crystal panel, the backlight unit comprising a surface light source device for providing surface light, the surface light source device including:
at least one light source generating light; and
at least one hollow light pipe including:
a first light waveguide unit with structured surface on at least one side; and
a second light waveguide unit with structured surface on at least one side and disposed substantially parallel to the first light waveguide unit,
wherein a longitudinal direction of the structured surface of the first light waveguide unit and a longitudinal direction of the structured surface of the second light waveguide unit form a certain angle.
4. The backlight unit of claim 3, further comprising at least one optical sheet disposed in one side of the surface light source device, wherein the optical sheet receives the light emitted from the surface light source device and provides the light to the liquid crystal panel.
5. The backlight unit of claim 3,wherein the structured surface includes an array of prisms
6. The backlight unit of claim 3, wherein the at least one light source is LEDs, and wherein the surface light source further comprises:
a printed circuit board electrically connecting a electric power source to the LEDs, wherein the LEDs are mounted on the printed circuit board; and
a housing receiving and supporting the printed circuit board.
7. The backlight unit of claim 3, further comprising a reflective sheet disposed under the light pipe to reflect the light emitted through a bottom surface of the light pipe and re-input the light into the inside of the light pipe.
8. The backlight unit of claim 3, wherein the light source is CCFLs or EEFLs disposed inside or along at least one side of the light pipe.
9. The backlight unit of claim 3, further comprising a diffusive layer disposed on the outer surface of the light pipe to receive at least the light emitted from the light emitting surface, the diffusive layer including:
a base material consisting of a light-transmissive resin; and
a plurality of diffusion particles distributed in the base material.
10. The backlight unit of claim 9, wherein the diffusion particles are beads.
11. The backlight unit of claim 9, further comprising a reflector having a surface capable of reflecting light, wherein the reflector is disposed inside the light pipe.
12. The backlight unit of claim 9, further comprising a reflector having a surface capable of reflecting light, wherein the reflector is disposed outside the light pipe.
13. The backlight unit of claim 5, wherein the certain angle formed by a longitudinal direction of the prisms of the first light waveguide unit and a longitudinal direction of the prisms of the second light waveguide unit is a substantially right angle.
14. The backlight unit of claim 5, wherein the prisms of the first waveguide unit are enlarged as the distance from the light source is farther.
15. A surface light source device for providing surface light, comprising:
at least one light source generating light; and
at least one hollow light pipe including:
a first light waveguide unit with structured surface on at least one side; and
a second light waveguide unit with structured surface on at least one side and disposed substantially parallel to the first light waveguide unit,
wherein a longitudinal direction of the structured surface of the first light waveguide unit and a longitudinal direction of the structured surface of the second light waveguide unit form a certain angle.
16. The surface light source device of claim 15 wherein the structured surface includes an array of prisms.
17. The surface light source device of claim 15, wherein the at least one light source is LEDs, and wherein the surface light source further comprises:
a printed circuit board electrically connecting a electric power source to the LEDs, wherein the LEDs are mounted on the printed circuit board; and
a housing receiving and supporting the printed circuit board.
18. The surface light source device of claim 15, wherein the light source is CCFLs or EEFLs disposed inside or along at least one side of the light pipe.
19. The surface light source device of claim 15, further comprising a diffusive layer disposed on the outer surface of the light pipe to receive at least the light emitted from the light emitting surface, the diffusive layer including:
a base material consisting of a light-transmissive resin; and
a plurality of diffusion particles distributed in the base material.
20. The surface light source device of claim 16, wherein the certain angle formed by a longitudinal direction of the prisms of the first light waveguide unit and a longitudinal direction of the prisms of the second light waveguide unit is a substantially right angle.
21. The surface light source device of claim 16, wherein the prisms of the first waveguide unit are enlarged as the distance from the light source is farther.
Description
    CROSS-REFERENCE TO A RELATED APPLICACTION
  • [0001]
    The present application claims the benefit of priority under 35 U.S.C. 119 based on the Korean patent application number 10-2006-0079549 filed on Aug. 22, 2006. This application is incorporated herein by reference.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0002]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0003]
    The present invention is directed to a surface light source device utilizing a light pipe. The present invention is also directed to a backlight unit and a liquid crystal display which are provided with such surface light source device.
  • [0004]
    2. Background
  • [0005]
    The liquid crystal display, also know as LCD, is an electronic device that transforms electrical signals into visual signals by utilizing the change in the transmittance of the liquid crystals according to applied voltages.
  • [0006]
    As well known in the art, the liquid crystal display is a non-emitting display device. Therefore, the liquid crystal display needs to use an outside light source unit for illuminating the viewing plane of the liquid crystal panel from its outside in order to display visual information. A backlight unit is conventionally used for this use.
  • [0007]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating a liquid crystal display.
  • [0008]
    Referring to FIG. 1, the liquid crystal display 30 comprises a liquid crystal panel 20 and a backlight unit 10 disposed at the back of the liquid crystal panel. The liquid crystal panel 20 receives the light provided by the backlight unit 10 to display images.
  • [0009]
    In general, the backlight unit 10 comprises a light source unit 12, a light guide plate 14, a reflective sheet 16 and optical sheets 18.
  • [0010]
    The light source unit 12 comprises a light source 12 a and a light source reflector 12 b. A cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) or an external electrode fluorescent lamp (EEFL) may be used for the light source 12 a. The light source 12 a is received inside the light source reflector 12 b and disposed along one surface of the light guide plate 14. The light source reflector 12 b is disposed outside the light source 12 a to reflect the light generated at the light source 12 a such that the light is inputted into the light guide plate 14.
  • [0011]
    The side surface of the light guide plate 14 disposed adjacent to the light source unit 12 becomes a light incidence surface for receiving the light. The light generated at the light source unit 12 is inputted into the light guide plate 14 through the light incidence surface, and emitted through the upper surface of the light guide plate 14. The upper surface of the light guide plate 14 becomes the light emitting surface for emitting the light.
  • [0012]
    The reflective sheet 16 reflects the light emitted through the lower surface of the light guide plate 14 such that the light is re-inputted into the inside of the light guide plate 14, which improves the light efficiency of the backlight unit 10.
  • [0013]
    The optical sheets 18 may comprise a diffuser sheet 18 a, a prism sheet 18 b and a protector sheet 18 c. The optical sheets 18 a, 18 b and 18 c control the light such that the light is effectively provided to the viewing plane of the liquid crystal panel 20.
  • [0014]
    However, the edge-light type backlight unit 10, which only uses the light that is inputted through the side surfaces of the light guide plate for illumination, has a problem that the light generated at the light source 12 is not fully used for illumination because the light loss occurs considerably at the light guide plate 14.
  • [0015]
    Furthermore, the direct type backlight unit, which has a plurality of light sources positioned directly under the liquid crystal panel, also has a problem that the light loss occurs at optical plates such as a diffusion plate. In addition, the light sources arranged adjacent to each other generates heat convection inside the backlight unit, and such heat convection deforms the optical sheets disposed over the light sources. The deformation of the optical sheets deteriorates the display quality.
  • [0016]
    To solve such problems, there have been recently various attempts to develop a surface light source device which emits light in the form of surface light. Information relevant to attempts to address the above problems can be found in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,771,330 and 6,514,113 and U.S. patent application No. 2004-004757, which disclose the surface light source utilizing a flat fluorescent lamp (FEL), LEDs or carbon nano tubes (CNTs). However, the surface light source devices of the above publications still suffer from one or more of the following disadvantages: the complex manufacturing process, unsatisfactory optical property, and high power consumption.
  • [0017]
    For the foregoing reasons, there is a need for a surface light source device that can be easily manufactured, that has satisfactory optical properties and that consumes low electric power.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0018]
    These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with regard to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings where:
  • [0019]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating a liquid crystal display;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 2 a is an exploded perspective view illustrating a liquid crystal display according to one embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 2 b is a cross-sectional view illustrating the liquid crystal display of FIG. 2 a;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 2 c is a cross-sectional view illustrating the liquid crystal display according to another embodiment;
  • [0023]
    FIG. 2 d is a cross-sectional view illustrating the light pipe of FIG. 2 c taken along the line A-A;
  • [0024]
    FIG. 2 e is a cross-sectional view illustrating a part of the liquid crystal display according to another embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0025]
    FIG. 2 f is a cross-sectional view illustrating a part of the liquid crystal display according to further another embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0026]
    FIG. 3 a is an exploded perspective view illustrating a surface light source device according to one embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0027]
    FIG. 3 b is a view illustrating a structure of the prisms of the light pipe of FIG. 3 a;
  • [0028]
    FIG. 4 a is a cross-sectional view of the liquid crystal display according to further another embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0029]
    FIG. 4 b is a cross-sectional view of the surface light source of FIG. 4 a taken along the line B-B;
  • [0030]
    FIGS. 4 c and 4 d are enlarged partial cross-sectional views of the area E of FIG. 4 b;
  • [0031]
    FIGS. 5 a to 5 c are cross-sectional views illustrating other embodiments of the diffusive layer and the reflector of FIG. 4 b;
  • [0032]
    FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view illustrating a surface light source device according to another embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0033]
    FIGS. 7 a and 7 b are cross-sectional views illustrating a surface light source device according to further another embodiment of the present invention; and
  • [0034]
    FIGS. 8 a and 8 b are cross-sectional views illustrating the surface light source device according to further another embodiment of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTON OF THE INVENTION
  • [0035]
    An object of the present invention is to provide a surface light source device that can be easily manufactured.
  • [0036]
    Another object of the present invention is to provide a surface light source device that consumes low electric power and that is free of the heat-related problems.
  • [0037]
    Further another object of the present invention is to provide a surface light source device that is easily applicable to large size and thin display devices.
  • [0038]
    Still further another object of the present invention is to provide a backlight unit and a liquid crystal display that are provided with such surface light source device.
  • [0039]
    Further scope of applicability of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description given hereinafter. However, it should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating preferred embodiments of the invention, are given by way of illustration only, since various changes and modifications within the spirit and scope of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from this detailed description.
  • [0040]
    In the following drawings, the same reference numbers will be used to refer to the same or like parts through all embodiments. In addition, the detailed descriptions of the identical parts are not repeated.
  • [0041]
    FIG. 2 a is an exploded perspective view illustrating a liquid crystal display according to one embodiment of the present invention; and FIG. 2 b is a cross-sectional view illustrating the liquid crystal display of FIG. 2 a.
  • [0042]
    Referring to FIGS. 2 a and 2 b, a liquid crystal display 300 of the present invention comprises a liquid crystal panel 200 and a backlight unit 100A.
  • [0043]
    The liquid crystal display 300 displays images according to driving signals and data signals provided by an outside device. To understand and work the present invention, it is not important to describe the detailed structure of the liquid crystal panel 200. And, the idea of the present invention is widely applicable to any type of liquid crystal panel usually employed in the liquid crystal display. Therefore, the structure of the liquid crystal panel 200 will not need to be herein described.
  • [0044]
    The backlight unit 100A is positioned at the back of the liquid crystal panel 200 to provide light, for example white light to the liquid crystal panel 200. The backlight unit 100A comprises a surface light source device 110A for providing surface light suited to illuminating the viewing plane of the liquid crystal panel 200. Selectively, the backlight unit 100A may include optical sheets 180 that are disposed between the liquid crystal panel 200 and the surface light source device 110A to transform the light provided by the surface light source device 110A to more suitable light for illuminating the liquid crystal panel 200.
  • [0045]
    The surface light source device 110A according to one embodiment comprises light source unit 120, a light pipe 140 and a reflective sheet 160.
  • [0046]
    Each light source unit 120 comprises light sources 120 a generating the light. The light sources 120 a according to one embodiment are point light sources such as light emitting diodes (LEDs). In this case, the light sources 120 a are mounted on a printed circuit board (PCB) 120 b in a certain arrangement, and the outside electric power source is electrically connected to the light sources 120 a through the wiring patterns of the PCB 120 b.
  • [0047]
    According to one embodiment, the light sources 120 a are disposed along two side surfaces. Therefore, the light generated at the light sources 120 a is inputted into the light pipe 140 through its side surfaces. Each light source unit 120 comprises a housing 120 c for receiving and supporting the PCB 120 b mounted with the light sources 120 a. The housing 120 c may be made of metal and plastic materials, and each housing 120 c has an inside groove for the PCB 120 b to be inserted therein. Preferably, the inner wall of the housing 120 c has a reflective coating to reflect the light emitted from the light sources 120 a.
  • [0048]
    The two side surfaces of the light pipe 140 become light incidence surfaces through which the light generated at the light source unit 120 is inputted into the light pipe 140, and the upper surface of the light pipe 140 becomes the light emitting surface through which the light is outputted from the light pipe 140. The light inputted through the light incident surfaces progresses through inside of the light pipe 140 by total reflection, and is outputted toward the liquid crystal panel 200 direction through the light emitting surface. The light emitting surface is preferably at least as wide as or wider than the viewing plane of the liquid crystal panel 200 so that the light is uniformly provided to the viewing plane.
  • [0049]
    Although the light source unit 120 is disposed at the side area of the light pipe 140, the backlight unit 100A has almost equal light efficiency to the conventional direct-lighting type backlight unit because the light pipe 140 has excellent light transportation capability and little light loss therein. Additionally, for the same level of brightness, fewer LEDs can be used in the backlight unit 100A of the present invention than in the conventional direct-lighting type backlight unit.
  • [0050]
    According to another embodiment, the light source unit 120 may be disposed only at one side area of the light pipe 140. In such case, the light efficiency may be secured by installing reflecting means at the opposite side area of the light pipe 140 to reflect and reuses the light transported to the end of the light pipe 140. Preferably, the light pipe 140 is designed to obtain uniform emitting light in such a manner that the cross-sectional area of the light pipe 140 becomes smaller along the longitudinal direction.
  • [0051]
    FIG. 2 c is a cross-sectional view illustrating the liquid crystal display according to another embodiment.
  • [0052]
    Referring to FIG. 2 c, a light source 220 of a liquid crystal display 300 is a linear light source. The light source may be, for example, a CCFL or an EEFL.
  • [0053]
    FIG. 2 d is a cross-sectional view illustrating the light pipe of FIG. 2 c taken along the line A-A.
  • [0054]
    Referring to FIG. 2 d, the inside of the light pipe 140 is hollow and filled with air, and the cross-section of the light pipe 140 may be oval or rectangular. The light pipe 140 may be a kind of hollow light waveguide. The light pipe 140 has a suitable structure for transporting the light inputted through its one or both sides in the longitudinal direction.
  • [0055]
    According to one embodiment, the inner surface 140 b of the light pipe 140 is structured with prisms arranged in micro pitches, wherein each prism is extended in the longitudinal direction.
  • [0056]
    Here, as shown in FIG. 2 c, the inner surface 140 b is structured with prisms. Only, in FIG. 2 d, a cut side of the prisms of the inner surface 140 b is shown, and so the inner surface 140 b is described as a straight line.
  • [0057]
    The outer surface of the light pipe 140 is not structured but smooth, and a part of the outer surface 140 a becomes the light emitting surface for emitting the light to the liquid crystal panel 200.
  • [0058]
    Alternatively, the outer surface 140 a of the light pipe 140 may be structured, and the inner surface 140 b of the light pipe 140 may be smooth.
  • [0059]
    Alternatively, both the outer and inner surfaces 140 a and 140 b of the light pipe 140 may be structured.
  • [0060]
    The distance between the outer surface 140 a and the inner surface 140 b varies widely according to the application circumstance. However, considering the light loss, it is preferable that the distance has a value of between about 50 μm and about 300 μm.
  • [0061]
    The light pipe 140 may be made of a thermoplastic resin that has good light transmittance, mechanical strength (especially impact resistance), thermal resistance and electrical stability. Preferably, the light pipe 140 is made of polyethylen terephthalate (PET), polycarbonate (PC) or polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). More preferably, the light pipe 140 is made of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA).
  • [0062]
    Referring back to FIGS. 2 a to 2 c, the surface light source device 110A according to one embodiment comprises a reflective sheet 160. The reflective sheet 160 reflects the light output through the lower surface of the light pipe 140 to re-input the light into the light pipe 140, thereby the light efficiency may be improved.
  • [0063]
    The reflector sheet 160 may be manufactured by applying Ag on a sheet made of SUS, Brass, Al, PET, etc and coating it with Ti to prevent the thermal deterioration caused by heat absorption.
  • [0064]
    Alternatively, the reflective sheet 160 may be obtained by dispersing micro-pores capable of scattering the light in a resin sheet such as PET.
  • [0065]
    Selectively, the backlight unit 100A may include a set of optical sheets 180 disposed between the surface light source device 110A and the liquid crystal panel 200. The set of optical sheets 180 may comprise a diffuser sheet 180 a, a prism sheet 180 b and a protector sheet 180 c.
  • [0066]
    The light emitted through the light emitting surface is inputted into the diffuser sheet 180 a. The diffuser sheet 180 a scatters the light to make the brightness uniform and widen the viewing angle.
  • [0067]
    Because the brightness declines sharply while the light passes through the diffuser sheet 180 a, the prism sheet 180 b is provided in the backlight unit 100A to compensate such declination of brightness. The prism sheet 180 b refracts the light emitted from the diffuser sheet 180 a in a low angle to collimate the light toward the front direction; thereby the brightness is improved within the effective viewing angle.
  • [0068]
    The protector sheet 180 c is disposed over the prism sheet 180 b. The protector sheet 180 c prevents the surface of the prism sheet 180 b from being damaged, and also re-widens the viewing angle once narrowed by the prism sheet 180 b.
  • [0069]
    The specified structure and materialistic property of the optical sheets 180 are not important to understand and work the present invention, and any conventional structure and material normally used in the art are widely applicable to the optical sheet 180 of the present invention.
  • [0070]
    Hereinafter, other embodiments of the present invention will be described.
  • [0071]
    FIG. 2 e is a cross-sectional view illustrating a part of the liquid crystal display according to another embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 2 f is a cross-sectional view illustrating a part of the liquid crystal display according to further another embodiment of the present invention. For the convenience, the same parts as those of the foregoing embodiment are not illustrated.
  • [0072]
    In the foregoing embodiment, LEDs in the form of point light sources are employed for the lights sources 120 a. However, the linear light sources such as CCFLs or EEFLs may be employed for the light sources 120 a. In such case, as shown in FIG. 2 e, the linear light sources 130 are disposed adjacent to each other inside the light pipe 140.
  • [0073]
    Here, since the surface light source device 110A according to one embodiment has a structure where the light sources 130 generating heat may be received inside the light pipe 140, the heat generated at the light sources 130 is circulated only inside the light pipe 140 and the heat is prevented from being easily transferred to the optical sheets 180. Therefore, the heat-related deformation of the optical sheets 180 may be prevented.
  • [0074]
    Additionally, in the foregoing embodiment, the surface light source device 110A is embodied with one light pipe 140. However, as shown in FIG. 2 f, the surface light source device 110A may be also embodied with a plurality of light pipes 140 disposed in such a manner that the adjacent light pipes 140 contact each other. Such simple disposition of the light pipes 140 allows the optical communication between the light pipes 140 because each light pipe 140 has the same dimension.
  • [0075]
    This allows the application of the surface light source of the present invention to the large size display. Namely, simply arranging the light pipes 140 vertically and horizontally according to the size of the liquid crystal panel and installing the light source units using the point light source (120 of FIG. 2 b) and the linear light source (220 of FIG. 2 c) at the side areas of the light pipe 140, inserting the linear light sources (130 of FIG. 2 e) can embody large size surface light source device.
  • [0076]
    FIG. 3 a is an exploded perspective view illustrating the surface light source device according to one embodiment of the present invention. And, FIG. 3 b is a view illustrating the structure of prisms of the light pipe of FIG. 3 a.
  • [0077]
    Referring to FIGS. 3 a and 3 b, the surface light source device 340 according to one embodiment comprises a light source 220 and a light pipe. The light pipe comprises a plurality of light waveguide units 342, 344, 346 and 348. Each of the light waveguide units 342, 344, 346 and 348 has a surface of which at least one side is structured.
  • [0078]
    Hereinafter, such a constitution that the structured surface includes an array of prisms will be described, but the present invention is not limited thereto, and the surface may be structured in various shapes.
  • [0079]
    The inner surface of the first light waveguide unit 342 of the light pipe is structured with a plurality of prisms, and the first light waveguide unit 342 has a surface through which a light from the light source 220 is incident.
  • [0080]
    The second light waveguide unit 344 is disposed substantially parallel to the first light waveguide unit 342, and its one surface is structured with a plurality of prisms. Also, the second light waveguide unit 344 has a surface through which a light is emitted into the liquid panel 200 direction.
  • [0081]
    Here, the longitudinal direction L1 of the prisms of the first light waveguide unit 342 and the longitudinal direction L2 of the prisms of the second light waveguide unit 344 form a certain angle α. According to one embodiment, the certain angle α may be a right angle.
  • [0082]
    Also, the longitudinal direction of the prisms of the third light waveguide unit 346 and the longitudinal direction of the prisms of the forth light waveguide unit 348 may form a certain angle.
  • [0083]
    The light pipe of the present invention may be molded by already known plastic molding process such as injection molding or extrusion molding. It is within the capability of a person skilled in the art to make the light pipe by such already known molding processes with the above mentioned materials without detailed description.
  • [0084]
    FIG. 4 a is a cross-sectional view of the liquid crystal display according to further another embodiment of the present invention; FIG. 4 b is a cross-sectional view of the surface light source of FIG. 4 a taken along the line B-B; and FIGS. 4 c and 4 d are enlarged partial cross-sectional views of the area E of FIG. 4 b.
  • [0085]
    Referring to FIGS. 4 a and 4 b, the liquid crystal display 400 comprises the liquid crystal panel 200 and a backlight unit 100B.
  • [0086]
    The backlight unit 100B comprises a surface light source device 110B for providing surface light. The backlight unit 100B may optionally include the optical sheets 180 to transform the light provided by the surface light source device 110B to more suitable light for the illumination of the panel 200.
  • [0087]
    The surface light source device 110B comprises the light source units 120, the light pipe 140, a diffusive layer 142 disposed outside the light pipe and a reflector 144 disposed inside the light pipe 140.
  • [0088]
    The diffusive layer 142 enables the light confined inside the light pipe 140 to be emitted outside the light pipe 140 and scatters the light for brightness uniformity.
  • [0089]
    Referring to FIGS. 4 c and 4 d, the diffusive layer 142 comprises a base material 142 b consisting of a resin and a plurality of diffusion particles 142 a and 142 a′ distributed in the base material 142 b.
  • [0090]
    The base material 142 b is preferably an acrylic resin that has good light transmittance, thermal resistance and mechanical strength. More preferably, the bases material 142 b is polyacrylate or polymethyl methacrylate.
  • [0091]
    Beads consisting of the same or other resins as the base material 142 b may be used for the diffusion particles 142 a and 142 a′. The diffusion particles 142 a and 142 a′ are preferably contained by about 25 wt % to 35 wt % against the base material 142 b. More preferably, the diffusion particles 142 a and 142 a′ are contained by 30 wt % against the base material 142 b.
  • [0092]
    According to one embodiment, the size and the distribution of the diffusion particles 142 a are random. Such random structure increases the haze effect to prevent the defects such as scratches that physical contacts would make on the base material 142 b from being projected onto the liquid crystal panel (200 of FIG. 4 a).
  • [0093]
    According to another embodiment, the size and the distribution of the diffusion particle 142 a′ are substantially uniform. Such uniform structure allows the brightness to increase although the haze effect rather decreases. In general, as the uniformity of the diffusion particles 142 a′ increases, the haze effect decreases but the brightness increases.
  • [0094]
    The diffusive layer 142 can be formed by various methods already known in the art. For example, the diffusive layer 142 can be obtained by a method where diffusion particles such as beads are mixed with a liquid phase resin and the mixture is applied to a base film, followed by the mixture being cured; and the film is thermo-compressed onto the outside surface of the light pipe 140. Alternatively, the diffusive layer 142 can be obtained by another method where a liquid phase resin with bead distributed therein is applied to the outside surface of the light pipe 140.
  • [0095]
    Referring back to FIGS. 4 a and 4 b, the reflector 144 is disposed inside the light pipe 140. The reflector 144 prevents the light from being emitted through the lower surface of the light pipe 140 and thus improves the light efficiency. Furthermore, the reflector 144 enables the light confined in the light pipe 140 to be emitted outside the light pipe 140.
  • [0096]
    The reflector 144 may consist of high reflective materias. For example, the reflector 144 comprises a reflective coating consisting of metals such as Al or Ag.
  • [0097]
    The optical sheets 180 may optionally be disposed between the liquid crystal panel 200 and the surface light source device 110B, and the optical sheets 180 may comprise the diffuser sheet 180 a, the prism sheet 180 b and the protector sheet 180 c.
  • [0098]
    In the foregoing embodiment, the diffusive layer 142 fully covers the outer surface of the light pipe 140, and the reflector 144 is inserted in the light pipe 140. However, the structure and disposition of the diffusive layer 142 and the reflector 144 can be modified variously by a person skilled in the art. Hereinafter, some modifications of the diffusive layer 142 and the reflector 144 will be described with reference to the drawings.
  • [0099]
    FIGS. 5 a to 5 c are cross-sectional views illustrating other embodiments of the diffusive layer and the reflector of FIG. 4 b. Only, the structural differences from the diffusive layer 142 and the reflector 144 are mainly described for convenience.
  • [0100]
    Referring to FIG. 5 a, according to another embodiment, the diffusive layer 142 is disposed to fully cover the outer surface of the light pipe 140, and the reflector 244 is disposed on the lower surface of the diffusive layer 142 as shown in the drawing.
  • [0101]
    Referring to FIG. 5 b, according to further another embodiment, the diffusive layer 342 and the reflector 344 both are disposed only on a certain area of the outer surface of the light pipe 140. Here, the diffusive layer 342 is formed at the position facing the liquid crystal panel (not shown), and the reflector 344 is disposed on the lower surface of the light pipe 140 and faces the diffusive layer 342 with the light pipe 140 therebetween.
  • [0102]
    Referring to FIG. 5 c, according to still further another embodiment, the diffusive layer 442 is formed to fully cover the outer surface of the light pipe 440, and the reflector 444 is disposed in the light pipe 440. Only, in this case, the inside area of the light pipe 140 where the reflector 444 is disposed is free of the prism structure.
  • [0103]
    FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view illustrating the surface light source device according to another embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0104]
    Referring to FIG. 6, the surface light source device 640 comprises a light source 220 and a light pipe. The inner surface 642 a of the first light waveguide unit 642 of the light pipe is structured with a plurality of prisms.
  • [0105]
    The outer surface 644 a of the second light waveguide unit 644 is smooth plane, and the inner surface 644 b is structured with a plurality of prisms.
  • [0106]
    Here, the longitudinal direction of the prisms of the first light waveguide unit 642 and the longitudinal direction of the prisms of the second light waveguide unit 644 form a certain angle. Accordingly, the brightness of the emitting light from the light pipe to the liquid panel 200 direction can be enhanced.
  • [0107]
    The third light waveguide unit 346 a and the forth light waveguide unit 348 a are combined with both sides of the first light waveguide unit 642 and the second light waveguide unit 644.
  • [0108]
    Each one surface of the third light waveguide unit 346 a and the forth light waveguide unit 348 b is structured with a plurality of prisms, and the longitudinal directions of the prisms form a certain angle.
  • [0109]
    FIGS. 7 a and 7 b are cross-sectional views illustrating the surface light source device according to further another embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0110]
    Referring to FIGS. 7 a and 7 b, the surface light source devices 740 and 760 comprise a light source 220 and a light pipe, and the inner surfaces 742 a and 762 a of the first light waveguide units 742 and 762 of the light pipes are structured with a plurality of prisms.
  • [0111]
    The inner surfaces 744 b and 764 b of the second light waveguides unit 744 and 764 are smooth planes, and the outer surfaces 744 a and 764 a are structured with a plurality of prisms.
  • [0112]
    Here, the longitudinal directions of the prisms of the first light waveguide units 742 and 762 and the longitudinal directions of the prisms of the second light waveguide units 744 and 764 form a certain angle.
  • [0113]
    The third light waveguide units 346 b and 346 c and the forth light waveguide units 348 b and 348 c are combined with both sides of the first light waveguide units 742 and 762 and the second light waveguide units 744 and 764, respectively.
  • [0114]
    FIGS. 8 a and 8 b are cross-sectional views illustrating the surface light source device according to further another embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0115]
    Referring to FIGS. 8 a and 8 b, the surface light source device 840 and 860 comprises a light source 220 and a light pipe. The inner surface 842 a and 862 a of the first light waveguide unit 842 and 862 of the light pipe is structured with a plurality of prisms.
  • [0116]
    The inner surface 844 b and 864 b of the second light waveguide unit 844 and 864 is smooth plane, and the outer surface 844 a and 864 a is structured with a plurality of prisms.
  • [0117]
    The longitudinal direction of the prisms of the first light waveguide unit 842 and 862 forms a certain angle with the longitudinal direction of the prisms of the second light waveguide unit 844 and 864.
  • [0118]
    In FIG. 8 a, the structured prisms of the inner surface 842 a of the first light waveguide unit 842 become larger toward the center from the edge.
  • [0119]
    If the prisms of the inner surface 842 a of the first light waveguide unit 842 are structured as shown in FIG. 8 a, though a light is inputted through both sides, the brightness of the light emitted through the second light waveguide unit 844 may be controlled to be uniform.
  • [0120]
    In FIG. 8 b, the light source 220 is disposed at one side area of the light pipe. In the case, the structured prisms of the inner surface 862 a of the first light waveguide unit 862 become larger from one edge of the light pipe adjacent to the light source 220 toward the other edge. Therefore, the brightness of the light emitted through the second light waveguide unit 864 may be controlled to be uniform.
  • [0121]
    Any reference in this specification to “one embodiment,” “an embodiment,” “example embodiment,” etc., means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the invention. The appearances of such phrases in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment. Further, when a particular feature, structure, or characteristic is described in connection with any embodiment, it is submitted that it is within the purview of one skilled in the art to effect such feature, structure, or characteristic in connection with other ones of the embodiments.
  • [0122]
    Although embodiments have been described with reference to a number of illustrative embodiments thereof, it should be understood that numerous other modifications and embodiments can be devised by those skilled in the art that will fall within the spirit and scope of the principles of this disclosure. More particularly, various variations and modifications are possible in the component parts and/or arrangements of the subject combination arrangement within the scope of the disclosure, the drawings and the appended claims. In addition to variations and modifications in the component parts and/or arrangements, alternative uses will also be apparent to those skilled in the art.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification362/561
International ClassificationA47F3/00
Cooperative ClassificationG02F1/133615, G02F1/133604, G02B6/0096, G02B6/0061, G02B6/0055, G02B6/0053
European ClassificationG02F1/1336E, G02F1/1336B2, G02B6/00L8
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Dec 11, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: LG ELECTRONICS INC., KOREA, REPUBLIC OF
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:LEE, WEON WOONG;REEL/FRAME:018669/0531
Effective date: 20061128