Backlighting technologies: getting started (part 1 of 5)

By Co Nguyen | May 05, 2015
Backlit touchscreen

This month we are kicking off a five-part blog series on backlighting.  The series will begin with an overview of how to approach a backlighting project and then each subsequent blog will review one of the four most popular options in backlighting: discrete LEDs, light guide film, fiber optic weave and electroluminescence.  

GMN frequently works with customers to integrate backlighting solutions into products including membrane switches, displays, and even branding pieces such as nameplates. We’ve developed applications for industries as diverse as appliance, medical, automotive, and more.

To establish the best backlighting solution without hotspots (uneven brightness, usually due to the location of LEDs) or light bleed (light coming through where it shouldn’t), the first step is to create a list of necessary requirements and assess the proposed design.  Start by asking these questions:

  • In what type of light will the device be used? Will the backlighting need to be visible in bright sunlight, the ambient light of offices, dark hospital rooms, etc.?
  • What needs to be backlit?  Is it a full screen, keypad, specific buttons, status or discrete indicators, a combination?
  • What colors will be used and where? 
  • What are the power requirements? 
  • What are the space constraints?
  • If there is a keypad or buttons, what type of tactile feedback is required? 

Based on the responses to these questions, you should be able to evaluate which backlighting solution, or combination of backlighting solutions could work with your device. 

Learn more about backlighting from one of our other blogs: