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3D glasses and LCD screens

  1. Aug 13, 2014 #1
    Hi, I was looking through a pair of 3D glasses last night at my mobile phone screen and saw something really cool. If the screen is lit and you tilt it, at various angles you see a circular rainbow effect. The different colours all form perfect circles around each other. I have been trying to find out what causes this circular rainbow pattern but to no avail. Please could someone explain what's going on? I would guess it would have something to do with the polarised light through the glasses and causing some type of interference with the pixels - but not sure though.

    Many thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 13, 2014 #2
    I don't know exactly why, maybe a circular polarizer on the phone screen or the glasses? I don't have 3D glasses but I played with a regular polarizer out of a calculator display in front of many displays and I get different effects ranging from simply color tint changes on many phone screens and certain TVs (my Xperia M and a Galaxy Mini, AMOLED ones like the Galaxy S5 don't have polarizers so a polarizer won't do anything) to the polarizer blocking all light from the screen in a specific rotation in my desktop and laptop monitor (Both Samsung ones) :)
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014
  4. Aug 13, 2014 #3


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    In general, different colors on your LCD screen may have different polarizations (for example, my iPhone has the green polarized in one way and red in another - as a result I see a green or red tinted screen depending on orientation when I look at it with polarizing sunglasses). If I am not mistaken, they are typically linear unlike the 3D glasses that would generally allow circular polarized light through (think about why!). What you are seeing is most probably a result of this.
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