In Plane Switching

What is In-Plane Switching (IPS)?

In-Plane Switching or IPS refers to the panel for the Liquid Crystal Displays or LCDs where the layer of crystals is placed between two glass surfaces arranged in a preset direction and in parallel to the surfaces, and hence the name ‘In-Plane.’

From the technical point of view, in IPS technology an electric field is applied on the crystal molecules to reorient them but maintaining the parallel placement all the time to the surface to produce the image.

Understanding In-Plane Switching (IPS) Technology

Understanding In-Plane Switching (IPS) Technology

IPS is actually a type of LCD or LED (which is also a form of LCD) display panel technology and are typically characterized by their high quality color production with deeper blacks and wider viewing angles in comparison to TN and VA or Vertical Alignment panels.

This technology is a bit more expensive than the others. However, it offers better viewing angles due to the specific arrangement of electrodes in them as well as the preset orientation of the liquid crystal layers.

This LCD screen technology was developed in the mid 1990s by Hitachi and is now used extensively in iPads and several Android tablets.

It is the horizontal orientation of the liquid crystals inside and the parallel movement of the molecules that allows light to pass through them in order to create an image and display them on the screen.

It is the wide angle viewing that makes the IPS displays most suitable for using in computer monitors and televisions.

In this particular technology the axes of transmission of two linear polarizing filters are in the same direction.

The inner surface of the glass plate is treated to line up the liquid crystal molecules at the edges at a right angle. This gives the layer the 90-degree TN structure.

The liquid crystal layer between the two glass surfaces is merely a few micrometers thick and therefore is very small compared to the distance between the two electrodes that are arranged differently.

Since all these are on one single glass plate and are in the same plane, an electric field is typically generated parallel to the plate.

At this point, you must also keep in mind that buying an IPS display alone may not display truly accurate colors. You will have to calibrate the display for that.

However, these panels need more power than the other panels to operate and are expensive.

One significant challenge is blocking out the backlight for displaying better blacks. This may sometimes produce uneven blacks or even washed out images.

Even if local dimming is used to improve the production of blacks, it may result in ugly ‘blooming’ and ‘ghosting’ at the edges of the images of the bright objects.

Features of IPS Technology

The most distinctive feature of the IPS screen technology is the horizontal arrangement of the liquid crystals between the two transparent glass surfaces.

Some other notable features of IPS technology include:

All these features facilitate the IPS switching mode in parallel to the two glass plates and according to the substrate by 90 degrees in the same plane, which is why it is called ‘In-Plane.’

The IPS panels now come with different useful features as well such as:

All these features of the IPS screen technology provide several advantages apart from wider viewing angle such as:

The unique IPS switching mode helps in creating a much reduced viewing angle dependence without needing any extra compensation film.

This is the key feature of the IPS screen technology that makes it so attractive for several applications.

What Does an IPS Panel Do?

The IPS panels primarily leverage the liquid crystal molecules placed in between the two glass surfaces arranged in parallel to generate rich colors. These panels also overcome the limitations in terms of wider viewing angle and color quality of the TN panels.

This is the result of the specific shifting pattern of the molecules of the liquid crystals and it all depends on its working process that needs to be explained further in steps as follows:

On the other hand, in the ON state, an adequate amount of voltage is used between the electrodes and an electrical field corresponding to it is generated at the same time.

This realigns the molecules of the liquid crystals so that light can pass through the polarizer.

Therefore, this arrangement includes two specific states namely V OFF and V ON and the arrangement is as follows.

In the Voltage OFF state:

In the Voltage ON state:

There are also other methods of implementation using a different arrangement of the liquid crystal molecules in which no twisting of the OFF state is required.

Since both the electrodes reside on the same substrate, more space is taken up by them in comparison to the electrodes in a TN matrix, which, in turn, reduces the color and brightness.

In the super IPS method, better color production and response times are offered which is more suited for graphics designing and other applications in which more consistent and accurate color reproduction is essential.

IPS Display vs LED

IPS vs LCD

IPS vs OLED

Conclusion

The IPS technology is very useful today as you can see very clearly from this article and therefore has a wide range of applications which is not restricted to computer monitors.

Though it may not be as good as an OLED display, considering the pros and cons, it is worth making an investment into.