By Chris Nicholls

SEOUL: Samsung has unveiled a new prototype LCD panel it claims is capable of an image refresh rate of 240Hz – double that of its current panels.

The 15-inch "Blue-Phase" panel, so called for the bluish hues engineers observed when watching the new process in action, achieves the higher refresh rate without the current overdrive circuits used in LCD sold today, thanks to a new production method that automatically aligns layers, removing any need for the mechanical alignment or rubbing used in current systems, such as in-plane switching and vertical alignment.

The lack of need to align liquid crystal layers will also result in “considerable savings on production costs”, Samsung said, and reduces the chance of ‘bruising’ the panel interface, which results in reduced brightness.

Samsung Electronics executive vice president, Souk Jun-hyung, who heads the display research and development centre of LCD business, said, “Our blue phase mode is a major evolutionary development beyond conventional liquid crystal modes. Samsung’s development of this technology provides a tremendous opportunity to move image quality of LCD screens much closer to that of a real moving image.”

While the prototype is only 15-inch in size, Samsung said it expected the technology to go into full-size mass-production LCD televisions from 2011.

The panels will be “mainly used in TVs that require high-speed video reproduction”, though, the company said.

Samsung claimed a working prototype with the technology was a world first.