SID Honors and Awards: Uchida Leads SID's 2008 Class of Honorees

For nearly 40 years, Dr. Tatsuo Uchida has dedicated himself to the study of LCDs. His lasting impact has been in the myriad students he has mentored, including those who have participated in his innovative special program designed to train engineers already in the display field.

by Michael Morgenthal

THERE is an old cliché that states, "It's not what you know, it's who you know." But for Dr. Tatsuo Uchida, the winner of the SID 2008 Slottow–Owaki Prize for outstanding contributions to personnel training in the field of information display, that cliché is only half true, for whom he knows is a direct result of what he knows.

What Uchida knows is LCDs – he is a leading expert in the field. SID has already recognized this fact by awarding Uchida the Jan Rajchman Prize in 2004 for "his outstanding contribution to the science and technology of liquid-crystal displays, including molecular orientation and high-performance LCDs, and his leadership in the display community." That SID has chosen to honor him a second time with one of its major awards is a rarity indeed – he is only the fourth person to be so honored twice by SID. And he is believed to be the first person in Japan to be awarded a Ph.D. for work specifically associated with LCDs.

Uchida's wide range of knowledge of LCDs and his kind, instructive teaching style have attracted those eager to learn about the technology from within Japan and across the globe to come to Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan. Since 1975, he has supervised 29 Ph.D. candidates (including seven students from outside of Japan), 82 masters-degree students, and 70 bachelor-degree students. His students have gone on to excel both in academia – seven former students have become professors – and the corporate world: large display companies and research institutes abound with those who studied with Uchida, including 1 president, 1 vice president, 6 directors, and 14 managers.

These numbers do not include the 49 visiting researchers from companies around the world who have come to study with Uchida since 1997 in the special program he established at Tohoku University specifically designed for engineers already working at display companies. This program, believed to be the first of its kind when established, is now a model for engineering schools around the world. Engineers from companies such as Nitto Denko, Fuji Film, Sumitomo Chemical, and Kurare, to name just a few, have already participated in the program.

Engineers enroll in the program for 1 or 2 years in order to learn the fundamental science of liquid crystal and related optics, and to cultivate logical consideration for research and development. The first year of the program begins with 3 months of basic-training courses that cover subjects such as the exact calculation of the molecular alignment of liquid crystal under application of a voltage by elastic theory, and exact calculation of optical properties based on the birefringence including the measurement of physical parameters such as elastic coefficients, refractivity, etc. According to Nobuki Ibaraki of Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology Co., Ltd., in Japan, this training makes it possible for researchers to understand the fundamental theory and experiments of liquid crystal and to design high-performance LCDs.



Dr. Tatsuo Uchida


For those that choose to stay on for a second year of study, an advanced training course is offered at the beginning of the second year, covering polarization analysis using the extended Jones' matrix and Poincaré Sphere. This training makes it possible for researchers to understand the accurate analysis of polarization, compensation of the optical retardation of liquid crystals for wide viewing angle, and less dispersion of wavelength dependence, for example, Ibaraki explains.

Following completion of the course work, there are 9 months of project research, the subject of which is decided in cooperation with the researcher's company and Uchida. The results of this research are applied to patents, presented at conferences, and submitted to journals. Thus far, the research has resulted in 8 journal papers and 43 presentations at conferences worldwide.

Programs such as these offer an alternative path for engineers interested in continuing their studies but who cannot afford the 3-year commitment often required for Ph.D.-level research. And Uchida's program was the first of its kind.

"The 3-year period for a Ph.D. is a deterrent to all but those most determined to do research. Most often, only a minority of people who will enter industry are prepared to take this amount of time before starting their careers," explains Anthony C. Lowe of Lambert Consultancy in the U.K. and a past-president of SID. "What Uchida achieved was to enable those working in the industry to gain real research experience over a much shorter period and then take their new skills back into industry. So he enabled many more industrial scientists and engineers to enhance their skills than would otherwise have been the case. The impact was better trained and educated engineers available to industry. Uchida had the idea and he personally pushed it through. I imagine this took a great deal of dedication and determination."

In part, Uchida was able to establish this program due to his long history with Tohoku University, which dates back to 1966 when he began his undergraduate studies in the Department of Electronics. He received his masters degree from the university in 1972 and his Ph.D. from Tohoku in 1975. He joined the faculty in 1975 as a research associate and then in 1982 became an associate professor and then a full professor in 1989. In 2005, he was named vice-dean of the graduate school of engineering and, in 2006, became the dean of the graduate school of engineering.

Uchida began his research in LCDs when he began his masters studies in 1970. According to Ibaraki, he started his work by examining the synthesis and purification of liquid-crystal material. Since then, he has performed broad research on LCDs in areas such as molecular alignment of liquid crystal on the surfaces based on physical chemistry, chromaticity, and driving technology.

Throughout his career, Uchida has been active in SID. He has been an integral member of the program committees for the SID Symposium and the International Display Research Conference (IDRC). He helped found the International Display Workshops (IDW) in 1994 and remains active in this annual display conference in Japan, serving as the general chair for IDW 2004. He has delivered myriad presentations at conferences both in Japan and abroad and is a widely respected and published author.

Therefore, for his remarkable contribution to bringing up students and company researchers in the display field, especially liquid-crystal displays, SID bestows the 2008 Slottow–Owaki prize to Professor Tatsuo Uchida. •


Otto Schade Prize: Louis D. Silverstein
(For Outstanding Service or Technical Achievements in, or contribution to, the Advancement of Functional Performance and/or Image Quality of Information Displays)


 The accomplishments of Dr. Louis D. Silverstein, winner of the 2008 Otto Schade Prize in Display Performance and Image Quality, are as varied and interesting as all the colors of a rainbow or, if you prefer, the CIE chromaticity diagram. This is especially apropos for Silverstein, who is known as one of the leading experts in color science and displays in the world.

A prolific author of more than 125 journal articles, book chapters, papers, and technical reports, Silverstein has contributed to more than 25 issued patents related to display technology and display performance enhancement with an additional 8 patents currently pending and has presented a display-technology seminar relating to color and displays at Display Week for the past 17 years.

His career achievements are equally as impressive. In the early 1980s, he lead efforts at Rockwell International and Boeing to specify, measure, calibrate, and verify the visual and color-performance characteristics of the first color CRTs for mission-critical avionics applications, which ushered in new generations of avionics displays. His work from 1984 to 1990 at Sperry Corp. and Honeywell focused on pixel mosaics, addressing methods, and color optimization of AMLCDs, as well as extensive work on the visual performance of both monoscopic and stereoscopic display presentations.

In 1990, he founded VCD Sciences, Inc., a technical consulting firm with a focus in the areas of applied vision, color science, and display technology. He has since worked on a wide variety of display-related projects at more than 25 companies and government laboratories, including long-term research projects at Xerox PARC (which ultimately was spun off to form dpiX), Motorola Corporate Research Labs, NASA Ames Research Center. and Optiva. Inc. His groundbreaking work developing thin-film polarizers and retardation films for LCD optical designs established the viability of such thin-film optical components for LCDs and led to several novel LCD optical designs and applications. Of late, he has focused on novel approaches to display color synthesis and on improved methods for characterizing the performance of projection-display systems. He developed a new approach to color synthesis called hybrid spatial-temporal color synthesis that results in improved display resolution, reduced fixed-pattern noise, and an expanded color gamut over standard methods that synthesize color by either spatial patterning or field-sequential-color operation alone.

For his many contributions to the enhancement of display performance and image quality including pioneering efforts in integrating display technology and color science, SID has bestowed the 2008 Otto Schade Prize to Louis D. Silverstein.


Karl Ferdinand Braun Prize: Richard Williams
(For Outstanding Technical Achievement in Display Technology)


If it weren't for Richard "Dick" Williams, many of you would likely not be reading this magazine right now. For when Williams, then working at RCA Laboratories, discovered in 1962 that clearly visible domains formed in liquid crystal when the applied field reached about 1000 V/cm, the inevitable march toward today's flat-panel-display world in which liquid-crystal displays are virtually ubiquitous had begun.

Spurred by David Sarnoff's request for a flat-panel television display among other factors, Williams began investigating the optical behavior of nematic LC materials (primarily para-azoxyanisole at about 120oC) under an applied electric field. Williams described his results in a paper entitled "Domains in Liquid Crystals" in the Journal of Chemical Physics in July 1963; these later became known as "Williams Domains." In the paper, Williams explained that the formation of the domains occurs at a sharp threshold field and that as the field is increased further as a stirring action occurs, which becomes quite vigorous when the field reaches about 3000 V/cm. Williams filed a patent application, which issued as U.S. Patent 3,332,485 on May 30, 1967, describing both reflective and transmissive modes of operation. This was RCA's sole LC patent when it publicly announced the results of its secret project to develop LCD technology at a famous 1968 press conference in New York City.

For the pioneering discovery of a significant electro-optic effect in liquid-crystal materials and the recognition of its importance to flat-panel displays, SID has awarded Richard Williams with the 2008 Karl Ferdinand Braun Prize.


Jan Rajchman Prize: Shin-Tson Wu
(For Outstanding Scientific and Technical Achievement or Research in the Field of Flat-Panel Displays)


The next time that you pull out your cell phone on a sunny day and can read the display without any trouble, thank Professor Shin-Tson Wu of the University of Central Florida. In 1995, Wu invented a high-resolution single-polarizer reflective LCD using a mixed-mode twisted-nematic (MTN) cell, an invention that lay the foundation for today's transflective LCDs that are widely employed in cell phones because of their excellent sunlight readability.

Wu holds a dozen patents in transflective LCDs among his 69 issued and pending patents and is the author of four books, five book chapters, and approximately 400 articles that have accumulated more than 2700 ISI citations.

His major research accolades are myriad. In the mid-1980s, Wu discovered the origins of liquid-crystal refractive indices and developed a three-band model to describe the refractive index and birefringence dispersions of liquid crystals, which is known as "Extended Cauchy model" for anisotropic materials and has been commonly used for designing LCD devices by taking the wavelength and operating temperature effects into considerations. In the mid-1980s, Wu's team at Hughes Research Labs developed several approaches for improving the liquid-crystal response time, such as the overdrive and undershoot voltage method, the thin-cell-gap approach, and the crossed-fields method. The overdrive and undershoot voltage method has been widely implemented in LCD TVs for reducing motion blur, and the thin-cell-gap approach has been widely employed in color-sequential LCDs.

At Hughes, Wu worked on liquid-crystal light valves for projection displays, a technology that in 1991 was transferred to JVC for commercialization. JVC is still working with Wu's group at UCF to develop new fast-switching liquid-crystal materials for color-sequential displays. Wu has delivered a new LC mixture with a figure of merit (FoM) approximately 2 times higher than that of the best commercial materials. JVC is implementing this new mixture into its thin-cell LCD panels.

For wide-view transmissive LCDs, Wu's group pioneered analytical solutions to describe the polarization states at each layer and invented several new broadband and wide-view linear and circular polarizers. To recycle unused light in LCD polarizers, Wu's group invented a new polarization converter using nanoscale metallic gratings. The simulated light recycling efficiency exceeds 90%. Chi-Mei Optoelectronics is implementing the latter two designs into its next-generation LCD products.

Since 2001, Wu has been the PREP Professor of Optics at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. In recognition of his exceptional contribution to liquid-crystal-display science and technology, especially display device physics, electro-optic effects, and materials, SID has awarded Shin-Tson Wu with the 2008 Jan Rajchman Prize.


2008 SID Fellow Awards

Each year, the Society elevates distinguished SID members to Fellows of the Society. 
The 2008 Fellows are

• Dr. Vladimir Chigrinov
"For his many contributions to the understanding of the physics and electro-optic effects in liquid crystals, including photo-alignment and the modeling of LC modes to enable optimization for flat-panel-display applications."

• Dr. Ingrid Heynderickx 
"For her significant contributions to the study and measurement of display image quality and for her outstanding educational efforts in training young scientists around the world."

• Dr. Chishio Hosokawa 
"For his outstanding scientific contributions to the development and commercialization of organic light-emitting-diode (OLED) materials technology.

• Dr. Junji Kido
"For his many contributions to the science and technology of OLEDs including high-efficiency materials, white-light-emitting and long-life devices."

• Dr. Seung Hee Lee 
"For his invention, product development, and commercialization of fringe-field-switching (FFS) liquid-crystal-display devices."

• Mr. Richard McCartney
"For his many significant contributions to the application of active-matrix LCD technology to avionics, television, and mobile displays encompassing methods for viewing-angle control and LCD electronics."


2008 SID Special Recognition Awards

Each year, the Society recognizes individuals for specific outstanding achievements. 
The 2008 Special Recognition Award winners are

• Mr. Kimio Amemiya
"For his outstanding contributions to the research and development of high-performance plasma displays using single-crystal MgO powder with its unique priming electron emission effect."

• Dr. Alan Jacobsen
"For his outstanding contribution to human-centered design within the aviation industry including the introduction of LCDs on commercial-airplane flight decks by developing safety-enhancing display formats and flight-deck prototyping systems."

• Dr. Sungkyoo Lim 
"For his outstanding service to SID including the role as Secretary General of Asia Displays 1988, the International Display Manufacturing Conference, the International Conference on Display LEDs, and the Crystal Valley Conference and Exhibition."

• Dr. Hiroyuki Mori 
"For his outstanding contributions to the improvement of optical simulation technology used to develop optical compensation films for LCDs."

• Dr. Kiyoshi Yoneda "For his pioneering contributions to the commercialization of low-temperature poly-Si-based active-matrix OLEDs."


The 2008 award winners will be honored
at the SID Honors & Awards Banquet, 
which will take place Monday, May 19 
at the Wilshire Grand Hotel in Los Angeles. 
Tickets cost $50 and must be purchased in advance – 
they will not be available on site. 
Visit for more information.


Michael Morgenthal is Managing Editor of Information Display magazine; e-mail: