Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) technology has revolutionized the way we interact with modern electronic devices, from smartphones and tablets to computers and televisions. In this article, we will delve into the history of LCD displays, explore their working mechanism, understand why they are widely used in various devices, debunk the myth of dark mode saving energy on LCDs, and explore energy-saving techniques.

The History of LCD Displays

The roots of LCD displays can be traced back to the late 19th century when the phenomenon of liquid crystals was discovered. However, the practical application of this technology for displays emerged in the 1960s when researchers successfully developed the first working LCD prototype. Over the decades, advancements in materials, manufacturing processes, and technologies have led to the widespread adoption of LCDs in consumer electronics.

How LCD Displays Work

LCD displays function based on the unique properties of liquid crystals. These molecules lie between two layers of transparent electrodes and align in response to an electric field. When an electric charge is applied, the liquid crystals either block or allow the passage of light, creating images on the screen. The use of color filters and backlighting further enhances the display's ability to reproduce vibrant images.

Popularity in Phones, Tablets, and Computers

The widespread adoption of LCD displays in phones, tablets, and computers can be attributed to their numerous advantages. LCDs offer high-resolution visuals, efficient power consumption at lower brightness levels, and cost-effectiveness for mass production. Additionally, they boast a thin form factor, making them ideal for slim and sleek devices.

The Myth of Dark Mode and Energy Saving on LCD Displays

While dark mode has gained popularity as a visually appealing feature on various devices, it doesn't significantly save energy on LCD displays. Unlike OLED displays, where individual pixels emit light, LCDs use a backlight to illuminate the entire screen uniformly. In dark mode, the backlight is still active, consuming a constant amount of energy regardless of the content displayed. However, dark mode can reduce eye strain and enhance user experience in low-light environments.

Energy-Saving Techniques on LCD Displays

Although dark mode might not be energy-efficient on LCD displays, there are other methods to conserve energy. One of the most effective approaches is reducing the screen brightness. Lowering the brightness level not only saves energy but also extends the device's battery life. Additionally, modern devices often employ ambient light sensors to automatically adjust brightness based on the surrounding lighting conditions, optimizing energy consumption.


LCD displays have come a long way since their inception and have become an integral part of our daily lives. Understanding their history, working mechanism, and energy efficiency allows us to appreciate their significance in modern electronics. While dark mode might not save energy on LCD displays, employing energy-saving techniques such as adjusting screen brightness can significantly enhance the battery life of our devices, ensuring they remain functional throughout the day.

In the book Sustainable Web Design In 20 Lessons from Michael Andersen you will get a better and more in-depth explanation of how LCD work.

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