Liquid-Crystal Displays for Medical Imaging: A Discussion of Monochrome versus Color

Copyright 2004 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. This paper was (will be) published in and is made available as an electronic reprint [preprint] with permission of SPIE. Single print or electronic copies for personal use only are allowed. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations through an electronic listserver or other electronic means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commericial purposes, or modification of the content of the pater are all prohibited. By choosing to view or print this document, you agree to all the provisions of the copyright law protecting it.

A common view is that color displays cannot match the performance of monochrome displays, needed for most medical imaging applications. normally used for diagnostic x-ray imaging. This view is based largely on historical experience with cathode-ray tube (CRT) displays, and does not apply in the same way to liquid-crystal displays (LCDs). Recent advances in color LCD technology have considerably narrowed gaps in performance differences with as compared to monochrome LCDs for medical applications. The most significant performance advantage of monochrome LCDs is higher luminance, a concern for use under bright ambient conditions. LCD luminance is limited primarily by backlight design, yet to be optimized for color LCDs for medical applications. Monochrome LCDs have inherently higher contrast than color LCDs, but this is not a major advantage under most conditions. There is no practical difference in luminance precision between color and monochrome LCDs, with a slight theoretical advantage for color. Color LCDsdisplays can provide visualization and productivity enhancement for medical applications, using and digital drive from of color LCDs can be provided by standard commercial graphics cards. The desktop computer market for color LCDs far exceeds the medical monitor market, with an economy of scale. The performance-to-price ratio for color LCDs is much higher than monochrome, and warrants re-evaluation for medical applications.

By: Steven L. Wright, Ehsan Samei

Published in: SPIE Proceedings, volume 5367, (no ), pages 444-55 in 2004


This Research Report is available. This report has been submitted for publication outside of IBM and will probably be copyrighted if accepted for publication. It has been issued as a Research Report for early dissemination of its contents. In view of the transfer of copyright to the outside publisher, its distribution outside of IBM prior to publication should be limited to peer communications and specific requests. After outside publication, requests should be filled only by reprints or legally obtained copies of the article (e.g., payment of royalties). I have read and understand this notice and am a member of the scientific community outside or inside of IBM seeking a single copy only.


Questions about this service can be mailed to .