US 20080090025 A1
Pre-aligned optical layers are stacked and arranged such that an adhesive layer, which is stacked onto the optical layers, contacts at least the uppermost layer and lowermost layer. The resulting subassemblies can be assembled into an optical display without individual handling of the layers, which reduces installation time and manufacturing costs.
1. An optical subassembly for use in an optical display, the optical subassembly comprising:
a plurality of stacked optical films having an uppermost film and a lowermost film, each of the uppermost and lowermost films having at least first and second edges; and
first and second adhesive layers contacting the uppermost and lowermost films of the stack on the first and second edges of the uppermost and lowermost films to hold the stack together as a unit, so that the stack can be assembled into an optical display without individual handling of the optical films of the stack.
2. The optical subassembly of
at least one intermediate film between the uppermost and lowermost films of the stack.
3. The optical subassembly of
4. The optical subassembly of
5. The optical subassembly of
6. The optical subassembly of
7. The optical subassembly of
8. The optical subassembly of
9. The optical subassembly of
10. The optical subassembly of
11. The optical subassembly of
12. The optical subassembly of
13. The optical subassembly of
14. The optical assembly of
15. The optical subassembly of
a light guide stacked under the lowermost film which is configured to allow the first and second adhesive layers to contact the light guide.
16. An optical film package comprising in combination:
a light guide; and
an optical subassembly of
17. The optical film package of
18. An optical display comprising in combination:
a backlight unit;
a display panel unit; and
an optical film subassembly of
19. The optical display of
a light guide; and
at least one light source.
20. The optical display of
This application is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/036,521 filed Jan. 14, 2005.
The present invention relates to optical displays. In particular, the present invention relates to pre-stacked optical films for assembly into an optical display.
Optical displays, such as backlit liquid crystal displays (LCDs), are used in a wide variety of applications including mobile telephones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), electronic games, laptop computers, monitors, and television screens. Optical films are stacked within an optical display in order to enhance brightness and improve display performance without sacrificing battery life.
Presently, films used in displays are provided as individual films to display manufacturers. The films include tabs that are useful in orienting and positioning the films, and cover sheets to protect the surfaces of the films. During assembly of a display, the cover sheets of the films are removed, and the films are stacked, one by one, into a frame that fits between a backlight assembly and an LCD panel. Double-coated rim tape is placed over the stacked films, which seals the edges of the films. A cover sheet is then placed over the rim tape. To finish the display, the cover sheet is removed, and the LCD panel is adhered to the rim tape.
This process is difficult and costly in terms of time and material. Creating tabs on the films increases the amount of waste material that is produced and increases the width of the bezel, or edge, that must extend around the perimeter of the display to cover the tab. Because the tabs extend to the edge of the rim tape, a path is created that allows debris to enter and settle between the films. Removing cover sheets from individual films increases assembly time and the possibility of damaging the films. In addition, as optical films become thinner and thinner, it becomes increasingly difficult to handle an individual optical film. Thus, resolving these problems would increase product output by increasing assembly efficiency and reducing the number of damaged films.
The present invention is an optical subassembly for use in an optical display that includes a plurality of stacked optical films and an adhesive layer. The adhesive layer contacts the uppermost and lowermost films of the stack to hold the stack as a unit, so that the stack can be assembled into an optical display without individual handling of the optical films of the stack.
Chassis 12 is typically a plastic frame for supporting components of optical display 10. In this embodiment, backlight unit 14 includes one or more layers of reflector 16, along with light guide 18, and light source 20. Light guide 18 may include special features for directing light and can take the form of a slab as shown or other forms such as a wedge.
Light source 20 may be any suitable type of light source such as a fluorescent lamp, light emitting diodes, or direct lit. Light from light source 20 is directed toward display panel 34 via light guide 18.
Next, diffuser 22 is stacked onto light guide 18. Diffuser 22 homogenizes the intensity of the light from light guide 18.
Prismatic films 24 and 26 are stacked onto diffuser 22. Films 24 and 26 contain arrays of prisms for directing light toward display panel 34. Relative to each other, films 24 and 26 may be arranged such that their prism arrays run parallel, or more typically, the prism arrays run non-parallel. As shown in this embodiment, the prism arrays run perpendicular relative to each other.
Diffuser 28 is stacked onto prismatic film 26. Diffuser 28 is typically a relatively weak diffuser and, as described in regard to diffuser 22, homogenizes the light intensity so that it is more uniform.
The last film shown stacked is reflective polarizer 30. Reflective polarizer 30 may be any of a number of types of reflective polarizers including a multi-polymer film, a cholesteric polarizer, or a wire-grid polarizer. Reflective polarizer 30 recycles light that is in the wrong polarization state and will not be transmitted as image light.
Typically, reflective polarizer 30 is laminated to the back of panel 34. However, as in the case shown here and in the following embodiments, reflective polarizer 30 may be stacked with the other layers.
The next layer is adhesive layer 32 (in bold). Adhesive layer 32 is typically double-coated rim tape or shading frame, but it may also be an adhesive coating. One surface of adhesive layer 32 is black and contacts display panel 34. The opposite surface is colored white or silver and contacts a portion of each of the layers underneath it. Light tends to leak around the film layers, and the reflective surface of adhesive layer 32 recycles the leaked light for redirection. The black surface reduces a “halo effect” around the optical display, which is a bright line that sometimes forms along its perimeter. Suitable rim tapes that may be used include 3M Company's Black and White Double Coated Polyester Tape 4003S, 4003T, 4007, 4037, and 4040 and Black and Silver Double Coated Polyester Tape 5173. If desired, 3M Company's Black and White Single Coated Polyester Tape 4038 and 4039 may also be used.
It should be noted that layers 22 through 30 represent one embodiment. Depending on needs and desires, some of layers 22 through 30 may be omitted, added to, or substituted. For example, a turning film with its prisms facing either up or down may replace prismatic films 24 and 26, or a Vikuiti BEF-RP 90/24 reflective polarizer with prisms may be added. In addition, each layer becomes progressively smaller, and their edges or perimeters are serially recessed such that portions of the layers contact adhesive layer 32, which will be explained in more detail below.
Adhesive layer 32 may contact layers 22 through 30 to form optical film unit 36. Alternatively, adhesive layer 32 may additionally contact light guide 18 to form optical film package 38. Optical film unit 36 and optical film package 38 may be referred to as optical subassemblies. Unit 36 and package 38 are assembled prior to delivery to a manufacturer for assembly of optical display 10. The layers are pre-aligned, so no tabs are needed. Adhesive layer 32 seals the edges of the layers, which removes any entry point for debris. However, as will be shown below, it is unnecessary for adhesive layer 32 to completely circumscribe the perimeters of the included layers.
Light guide 18, diffuser 22, and prismatic film 24 become serially smaller as previously shown. Adhesive layer 25 is stacked onto prismatic film 24 and sized similarly to adhesive layer 32 such that one surface of adhesive layer 25 contacts and secures each of layers 18 through 24 or 22 through 24. Next, prismatic film 26, diffuser 28, and reflective polarizer 30 are stacked. Instead of continuing to decrease in size as in Figure la, however, each layer becomes serially larger. Adhesive layer 32, which is sized identically to that shown for display 10 a, is then stacked onto reflective polarizer 30. The remaining surface of adhesive layer 25 contacts layers 26 through 32.
Adhesive layer 25, unlike adhesive layer 32 is not rim tape but is any type of suitable double-coated tape. With this embodiment, the layers may be more secure, and the smallest layer of display 10 b is larger than the smallest layer of display 10 a. Thus, a larger viewing area is provided without increasing the overall size of the layers.
Here, light guide 18 is larger than layers 22 through 30. Layers 22 through 30 are the same size, and adhesive layer 32 only contacts a portion of light guide 18 and reflective polarizer 30. The remaining layers are trapped between light guide 10 and reflective polarizer 30, and the edges of each layer are sealed to prevent debris from entering.
Note that in order to form unit 36, diffuser 22 would be sized larger than the remaining layers to adhere to adhesive layer 32. As with display 10 b, the smallest layers are larger than the smallest layer of display 10 a, which provides a larger viewing area without increasing the films' overall size.
Diffuser 28 is the bottom layer with reflective polarizer 30 being stacked on top. As is evident in
In this embodiment, adhesive layer 32 has a frame-type shape and is stacked over diffuser 28 and reflective polarizer 30. Inner perimeter 32 p″ is recessed by distance d2 from outer perimeter 30 p, while outer perimeter 32 p′ extends beyond outer perimeter 28 p by distance d3. Thus, a portion of each of diffuser 28 and reflective polarizer 30 contacts and adheres to adhesive layer 32. Ideally, a protective cover sheet (not shown) is stacked over adhesive layer 32 and under the lowermost layer. The cover sheets are removed prior to attaching panel 34 to unit 36 to create a display module. Suitable protective cover sheets and their method of attachment are described in Ser. No. 10/750,553, filed on Dec. 31, 2003.
Distances d1, d2, and d3 are about 2.0 mm or less or, more typically, about 1.0 mm or less. Distances d1-d3 may not be identical to each other and may not be uniform along any of the entire perimeters of the layers.
As evident in
Unit 36 is much easier to handle than each film individually and is sealed, which prevents debris from accumulating between films. The films have no tabs, because they are pre-aligned and the manufacturer need only align outer perimeter 32 p′ within a chassis in order to correctly position optical film unit 36. In addition, tab-less films result in narrower borders around the viewing area. This allows manufacturers to increase the size of the viewing area without increasing the overall size of the device. This is especially significant for small devices such as mobile phones and PDAs.
Slot 42 is also shown. Slot 42 may have any of a number of elongated shapes such as a rectangle or oval. There may be one or more of slot 42 along outer perimeter 30 p and can be in any combination with holes 40. Slot 42 may have any length, but its width should be less than 2 mm, typically between about 0.5 mm and 1.0 mm.
Holes 40 and slot 42 should be about 0.50 mm or less from outer perimeter 30 p and inner perimeter 32 p″. Typically, additional layers sized the same as reflective polarizer 30 and also having holes 40 and/or slot 42 would be included. Only the lowermost layer is sized larger and does not include holes 40 or slot 42. Thus, each of the layers is secured and sealed from entry of any debris.
The use of slot 42 secures the layers as a unit, but also allows some movement of the layers in the direction of the width of slot 42. Thus, this embodiment may better tolerate any adjustments between the layers should it be necessary.
Unlike the embodiment of unit 36, the full perimeter of the films and adhesive layer are not staggered relative to one another. In addition, the adhesive layer is in the form of only a portion of a frame-type shape. Edges 30 a and 30 b are recessed from edges 28 a and 28 b, respectively, by distance d1. Edges 32 ′i and 32 ″i are recessed from edges 30 a and 30 b, respectively, by distance d2. Edges 32 ′o and 32 ″o extend beyond edges 28 a and 28 b, respectively, by distance d3. Again, distances d1-d3 need not be identical to each other or uniform along each edge.
Though unit 36 c has two remaining edges of each layer that are not staggered and have no adhesive layer, unit 36 c is still assembled and installed as a unit. The advantage is that a device into which it is installed will require only a minimal bezel to cover the two remaining edges. Thus, unit 36 c provides a maximum viewing area in one dimension.
Any two edges along the perimeters of diffuser 28 and reflective polarizer 30 may be staggered and secured with adhesive layers 32′ and 32″. In addition, it may be desirable to stagger and secure a third edge of unit 36 c.
Unit 36 d also maximizes the viewing area in one dimension. In addition, additional layers may be added between films 28 and 30 that are sized the same as reflective polarizer 30 giving a configuration similar to that shown in
In this embodiment, only one edge is secured. Diffuser 28 is at the bottom of the stack followed by reflective polarizer 30 and then adhesive layer 32′. Edge 30 a is recessed from edge 28 a by distance d1. Edge 32 ′i is recessed from edge 30 a by distance d2. Edge 32 ′o extends beyond edge 28 a by distance d3. The advantages of unit 36 e are that unit 36 e is still handled as a unit instead of as single films, but if necessary, the films may be fanned out in order to remove any debris that may settle between the films.
Additional layers may also be added to any of the previous embodiments. For example, additional film layers and an additional adhesive layer such as shown in
The films and adhesive layers shown in these embodiments can have any geometric shape, including circular and oval shapes. In addition, these embodiments also apply to optical film package 38 (
Light guide 18 is attached to chassis 12. Unit 36 e is installed by positioning the edge of adhesive layer 32′ within chassis 12. Adhesive layer 32′ adheres to chassis 12 to secure unit 36 e. As shown in
In this embodiment, package 38 a is installed by positioning adhesive layer 32′ within chassis 12 a. Chassis 12 and chassis 12 a and light guides 18 and 18 a are slightly different to accommodate installation of an optical film unit or an optical film package, respectively. Again, adhesive layer 32′ conforms to the geometry needed to contact portions of light guide 18 a, optical films 44, and chassis 12 a.
The present invention provides a more efficient and less costly product for installation into an optical display. The optical layers may be pre-aligned and stacked in bulk by means of a continuous web, which is more efficient and effective than stacking each layer individually as is presently done. Because the layers are not individually stacked, they no longer require peripheral tabs for positioning and orienting nor protective cover sheets. In addition, the films may be sealed to prevent any debris from entering between the layers.
Although the present invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, workers skilled in the art will recognize that changes may be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.