In-Plane Switching (IPS) in TFT Displays: A Technological Perspective

16th October 2023

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This white paper delves into the intricacies of In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology in Thin Film Transistor (TFT) displays. We explore its manufacturing process, the technological advancements that have propelled its popularity, and the benefits it offers over other display technologies.


Thin Film Transistor (TFT) displays have revolutionized the way we view digital content. Among the various technologies that have emerged in TFT displays, In-Plane Switching (IPS) stands out for its superior colour accuracy and wide viewing angles. This paper provides an in-depth look at IPS technology from a manufacturing and technological standpoint.

The Birth of IPS Technology

IPS was developed in the late 1990s as a solution to the limitations of the then-dominant Twisted Nematic (TN) displays. TN panels suffered from narrow viewing angles and colour distortions. Specifically, when viewed from off-angles, TN panels often exhibited a colour shift, turning whites into yellows or blues, and making other colours appear washed out or inverted. IPS was designed to address these issues, offering consistent and accurate colours even when viewed from sharp angles.

ips in tft vs TN technology portraying the different looks

Manufacturing Process of IPS Displays

The manufacturing of IPS displays involves several intricate steps:

Substrate Preparation

The process begins with the preparation of a glass substrate. This substrate is meticulously cleaned and treated to ensure that it is free from impurities and defects, as these can adversely affect the performance and clarity of the display.

TFT Layering

Thin-film transistors are then layered onto the substrate. These transistors act as switches for each pixel.

IPS displays

In IPS displays, the liquid crystal molecules align themselves parallel to the layers of the display, which is in stark contrast to TN displays where the crystals experience a 90-degree twist in their alignment. The term “In-Plane Switching” derives from this parallel alignment of the liquid crystals within the plane of the display. This parallel alignment ensures that light passing through the liquid crystals is modulated consistently across the display, resulting in uniform colour reproduction and brightness. On the other hand, the twisted alignment in TN displays can lead to variations in how light is modulated, causing colour distortions and limited viewing angles. Colour Filter Addition: A colour filter is added to produce the red, green, and blue subpixels.

Polarizer Attachment

Finally, polarizers are attached to the top and bottom of the assembly. The orientation of these polarizers is crucial to the functioning of the IPS display.

Technological Advancements in IPS

Over the years, IPS technology has seen numerous advancements:

Improved Response Times

Early IPS panels had slower response times, often ranging between 25ms to 40ms. This made them less suitable for fast-paced applications like gaming. However, modern IPS displays have seen significant improvements in this area, with many panels now boasting response times as low as 1ms to 5ms, making them competitive with TN panels, which traditionally held the advantage in this metric. 

Enhanced Power Efficiency

Traditional IPS panels, especially those with CCFL (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp) backlights, could consume anywhere from 30W to 50W for a standard 24-inch monitor. With the transition to LED backlights and advancements in liquid crystal design, modern IPS panels have become more energy-efficient, with many 24-inch monitors now consuming between 15W to 25W under typical usage. Additionally, features like adaptive brightness and energy-saving modes in newer models can further reduce power consumption. 

Higher Resolution

IPS technology has adapted to the demands of 4K and even 8K resolutions, ensuring crisp and clear images.

Benefits of IPS Technology

In the ever-evolving landscape of display technologies, IPS has carved out a niche for itself due to its distinct advantages. These benefits range from offering wide viewing angles to ensuring superior colour accuracy, making IPS panels a preferred choice for a variety of applications. Here are some of the key benefits: 

Wide Viewing Angles

IPS displays offer almost 180-degree viewing angles, ensuring consistent colours and brightness levels from virtually any angle.

Superior Colour Accuracy

IPS panels produce more accurate and consistent colours compared to other technologies. 

Better Contrast Ratios

While OLED displays might have deeper blacks, IPS panels offer excellent contrast ratios suitable for most applications.

Challenges and the Road Ahead

While IPS technology has come a long way, it is not without challenges. The quest for even faster response times, better power efficiency, and higher resolutions continues. As OLED and MicroLED technologies gain traction, IPS manufacturers are under pressure to innovate and stay relevant. 

Related Content

This case study analyses the application of a specific 4″ 1×1 aspect ratio IPS TFT LCD display in EV charging stations, outlining its key features and benefits.


In-Plane Switching technology has played a pivotal role in elevating the quality of TFT displays. Its manufacturing process, coupled with continuous technological advancements, has made it a preferred choice for professionals and consumers alike. As the display technology landscape evolves, IPS will undoubtedly adapt and continue to be a significant player in the market.

At Relec Electronics, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of IPS panel technology. With years of expertise and a deep understanding of the nuances of display technologies, we are uniquely positioned to guide our clients in selecting the ideal IPS panel for their specific needs. Our team of engineers work closely with our clients to understand their requirements, ensuring that they receive a product that not only meets but exceeds their expectations. Whether you’re looking for a display for a critical professional application or a consumer product, Relec Electronics is your trusted partner in sourcing the best IPS solutions. 

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Here at Relec Electronics, we have worked closely with our key suppliers for over 40 years. We specialise in many industries, including; automotive, industrial, transportation, instrumentation & defence. We have a team of dedicated engineers ready to support you throughout the design process. We also carry stock of all standard modules and accessories for next day delivery.

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