What is SXRD technology?
4K SXRD technology from Sony is the new way of projection, offering far more resolution than the old way: the 2K DLP chip.
The SXRD acronym stands for Silicon X-tal Reflective Display, where X-tal is a common abbreviation for Crystal. This is an all-new approach
to reflective liquid crystal microdisplays.
Sony's design maintains a uniform, ultra-thin liquid crystal cell gap without any spacers in the image area. With such a small gap,
SXRD technology produces superb contrast. Sony also uses a Vertically Aligned Nematic (VAN) liquid crystal that changes state with amazing
speed. This enables Sony's SXRD microdisplay to run as fast as 200 frames per second while minimizing image smear. The thin gap and VAN
liquid crystal enable Sony's SXRD technology to project images of a quality surpassing DLP projectors. For extended service life, Sony also
incorporates an ultra-stable inorganic alignment layer. And unlike conventional LCoS panels, which are notoriously difficult to manufacture,
the SXRD panel uses a production process that was perfected in Sony's own, dedicated manufacturing facilities.
SXRD technology is already proven in acclaimed Sony consumer products, including a custom installation front projector and 70, 60 and
50-inch rear projection televisions (viewable area, measured diagonally). All of these products deliver full resolution HD. And these SXRD
home products have earned the highest superlatives from even the most skeptical home theater enthusiast magazines.
The SRX Series incorporate scaled-up professional SXRD microdisplays, roughly four times the area of Sony's consumer SXRD panels. In all these
applications, SXRD technology delivers a dramatic difference in image performance. The SXRD panel of these projectors incorporates more than
eight and a half million pixels on an inch and a half of silicon. Each projector uses three of these panels, one each for Red, Green and Blue.
Before SXRD technology, no commercially-available microdisplay projector reproduced images in full 4K resolution: 4096 x 2160 pixels. That's
nearly nine million pixels for each of three colors! Stated another way, if you held a credit card up to a screen 27 feet wide, the card would
be covered by over 1,000 pixels! SXRD panels accomplish what others don't because the pixels are phenomenally small. In the SRX Series microdisplays,
each pixel measures just 8.5 micrometers, center to center. That's roughly 1/8 the thickness of a human hair—so small you can't even see it without
a microscope. The result is a pixel density beyond anything seen before.
This photomicrograph of the SXRD panel surface shows the 0.35 micrometer inter-pixel gap and the pixel pitch of 8.5 micrometers.
With some microdisplay panels, watching video is like looking through a fine mesh net. This so-called "screen door" effect is caused by gaps or
inactive areas between pixels, which are sometimes used to hide transistors. However, SXRD technology places all of these transistors behind the
reflective surface. So inter-pixel gaps are reduced to only 0.35 _m. The gap between pixels is almost invisible when projected on the screen.
Some micro displays are forced to compromise between high contrast (which requires a thick liquid crystal layer) and fast motion (which benefits
from a thin liquid crystal layer). The SXRD panel achieves both goals. Unlike conventional LCoS panels, SXRD technology incorporates Sony's unique
Vertically Aligned Nematic liquid crystal material for high contrast. Moreover, with the SXRD reflective design, light passes through the liquid
crystal layer twice. So the layer only needs to be half the thickness. As a result, contrast ratio of the microdisplay panel alone, when measured
with a conoscope* exceeds 4000:1. You get outstanding black level reproduction and images that come alive, with minimum motion smear.
Cross section of the SXRD panel. Light enters at the top, reflects off the mirrored surface of the Silicon backplane, and passes out through
the Liquid Crystal, toward the screen.
Sony 4K SXRD Panel
4096 H x 2160 V
2048 H x 1080 V
720 H x 480 V
With SXRD panels, Sony's goal wasn't merely to provide incremental improvements, but to totally redefine the digital projection landscape. The result is a whole new way of projection.
* A conoscope is a tool for measuring the optical properties of bifringent materials.