Active matrixpixels of an LCD display. The most common example of an active matrix display is a TFT, or thin film transistor, LCD. Thin film transistors are mandatory for constructing an active matrix to the point where the two terms are often interchanged, even though a thin film transistor is just one component in an active matrix. Whereas a passive matrix display uses a simple conductive grid to deliver current to the liquid crystals in the target area, an active matrix display uses a grid of transistors with the ability to hold a charge for a limited period of time (much like a capacitor). Because of the switching action of transistors, only the desired pixel receives a charge, improving image quality over a passive matrix. Furthermore, because of the thin film transistor's ability to hold a charge, the pixel remains active until the next refresh.
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