Forth Dimension Displays launches QXGA-3DM Spatial Light Modulator

Forth Dimension Displays (ForthDD), a leading provider of high-resolution Liquid Crystal On Silicon (LCOS) Microdisplays and Spatial Light Modulators (SLMs) is pleased to announce the launch of its all-new 3.1MPixel QXGA-3DM SLM at Photonics West 2015, booth 1123.

ForthDD’s 1.3MPixel SXGA-3DM SLM has a leading position in the 3D AOI PCB inspection and measurement market as well as being used for applications as diverse as silicon wafer inspection and super resolution microscopy.

The 2048 x 1536 pixel QXGA-3DM SLM builds upon this track record by enabling even higher resolution structured light systems to be built. Applications that will benefit from this increased performance include 3D inspection of System in Package (SiP) devices and Lattice Light Sheet Microscopy. Recognising the benefits of the increased resolution in leading edge imaging techniques, the first production shipment of a QXGA-3DM will go to long time ForthDD customer Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) for use by Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2014 winner Dr. Eric Betzig’s team.

QXGA 3DM Forth Dimension Displays

The QXGA-3DM combines an industry proven microdisplay with a powerful application specific non-video drive interface. The system can be programmed offline, through the RS-232, RS-485 and USB interfaces, and no controller PC is required for normal operation. The drive interface is capable of storing up to 1024 full resolution images. Bi-directional trigger signals ensure accurate synchronization with other system components such as cameras and translation tables.

The small form factor and light weight of the QXGA-3DM gives system integrators the flexibility to design the display into their existing applications, without compromising the original mechanical design, resulting in a reduced time to market.

Mr Greg Truman, CEO of FDD said, “Our SXGA-3DM is in 24/7 use around the world in the most advanced inspection and imaging systems. In response to demand from our customers for even higher resolutions and performance, we are pleased to launch our new QXGA-3DM product. This will allow our customers to image and inspect even smaller feature sizes and further expand the range of applications for structured light systems.”


Tiny microdisplays are revolutionising optics with high resolution images that are mirrored directly in front of the eye. Viewers feel they are in the thick of the action, and especially pilots will appreciate the benefits in flight simulations.

The secret market leader in this field is the Scottish company Forth Dimension Displays. “Big is beautiful” is the motto when it comes to displays, yet what holds true for consumers, turns into the very opposite for scientific and engineering applications. Instead, true adepts in their fields extract the maximum out of miniaturised monitors – like the Adlershof subsidiary of the Scottish company Forth Dimension Displays.

The company conjures brilliant images from displays that wouldn’t even cover a postage stamp.

The trick: magnifying optics integrated in special goggles, so called head mounted displays (HMDs), mirror the images directly in front of the eye, giving rise to a realism that has brought customers running to Forth Dimension, above all providers of training and simulation systems and imaging techniques in medical engineering, measurement technologies and film production, including the ARRI Group and EADS Astrium N.V. A great many flight simulations are equipped with these microdisplays, and surgeons can pop open MRT images before their eyes while they are operating.

But why the “forth dimension” for this so called near to eye (NTE) technology? Nigel Cartwright, Managing Development Engineer, laughed: “It’s a play on words. On the one hand, our head office in Scotland is on the river Forth, and on the other we interpret time to be the fourth dimension.”

And time is essential for this new technology. At its heart are special liquid crystals, so called liquid crystals on silicon (LCOS), used to make up the displays. LCOS reflect light at great speed.

Not only that, the material allows Forth Dimension to depict the whole colour spectrum on only the one pixel in the image – circumventing the usual procedure of distributing red, green and blue light over a number of pixels.

The result is high resolution display build up. “We are the world market leader in the field of high resolution NTE displays,” added Cartwright. “Our key market is Europe, above all here in Germany.” Adlershof was therefore ideal owing to its central location.

“Moreover, we’re hoping to cooperate with research institutes,” he emphasised. Incidentally, the displays do full justice to a peculiar Scottish discipline: They’re not only miserly in size, but also in energy consumption. by Chris Löwer