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The all-digital display chip

Wherever visual excellence is demanded, you'll likely find TI's highly versatile DLP® technology at work. It's the only display technology that can power the world's smallest handheld projectors as well as light up movie screens spanning up to 100 feet.

DLP chipTI's revolutionary DLP display technology uses an optical semiconductor to digitally manipulate light. The highly reliable, all-digital display chip delivers incredible imagery across a broad range of products, including education projectors, business and home entertainment systems Digital Cinema (DLP Cinema®), and mobile projection devices (DLP® Pico™). The DLP chip is also found in embedded applications such as 3D scanning, spectroscopy, machine vision and medical applications. Virutally all leading display electronics manufacturers depend on the technology; since 1996, TI has shipped more than 25 million systems to more than 75 manufacturers.

You'll find the maximum fidelity with breath-taking clarity, brilliance and color hard to believe.

The semiconductor that changed everything

At the heart of every DLP® projection system is an optical semiconductor known as the Digital Micromirror Device, or DMD, invented in 1987 by TI's Dr. Larry Hornbeck.

DLP chip in perspectiveThe DMD chip is perhaps the world's most sophisticated light switch. It contains a rectangular array of up to 2 million hinge-mounted microscopic mirrors, each one measuring less than one-fifth the width of a human hair.

Here's how it works.

When a DMD chip is coordinated with a digital video or graphic signal, a light source and a projection lens, its mirrors can reflect an all-digital image onto a screen or other surface. The micromirrors on the DMD are mounted on tiny hinges and tilt either toward the light source in a DLP projection system or away from it to create a light or dark pixel on the projection surface.

The bit-streamed image code entering the semiconductor directs each mirror to switch on and off up to several thousand times per second. When a mirror is switched on more frequently than off, it reflects a light gray pixel; a mirror that's switched off more frequently reflects a darker gray pixel.

In this way, the mirrors in a DLP display system can reflect pixels in up to 1,024 shades of gray to convert the video or graphic signal entering the DMD into a highly detailed grayscale image.

The white light generated by the lamp in a DLP display system passes through a color filter as it travels to the surface of the DMD. This filters the light into red, green and blue, and sometimes cyan, magenta and yellow. And the 3-chip system found in DLP Cinema® projection systems is capable of producing no fewer than 35 trillion colors.

The on and off states of each micromirror are coordinated with these three basic building blocks of color to create brilliant hues. For example, a mirror responsible for projecting a purple pixel will only reflect red and blue light to the display surface; our eyes then blend these rapidly alternating flashes to see the intended hue.

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