Wearable near-eye display has found widespread applications in education, gaming, entertainment, engineering, military training, and healthcare, just to name a few. However, the visual experience provided by current near-eye displays still falls short to what we can perceive in the real world. Three major challenges remain to be overcome: 1) limited dynamic range in display brightness and contrast, 2) inadequate angular resolution, and 3) vergence-accommodation conflict (VAC) issue. This dissertation is devoted to addressing these three critical issues from both display panel development and optical system design viewpoints. A high-dynamic-range (HDR) display requires both high peak brightness and excellent dark state. In the second and third chapters, two mainstream display technologies, namely liquid crystal display (LCD) and organic light emitting diode (OLED), are investigated to extend their dynamic range. On one hand, LCD can easily boost its peak brightness to over 1000 nits, but it is challenging to lower the dark state to < 0.01 nits. To achieve HDR, we propose to use a mini-LED local dimming backlight. Based on our simulations and subjective experiments, we establish practical guidelines to correlate the device contrast ratio, viewing distance, and required local dimming zone number. On the other hand, self-emissive OLED display exhibits a true dark state, but boosting its peak brightness would unavoidably cause compromised lifetime. We propose a systematic approach to enhance OLED's optical efficiency while keeping indistinguishable angular color shift. These findings will shed new light to guide future HDR display designs. In Chapter four, in order to improve angular resolution, we demonstrate a multi-resolution foveated display system with two display panels and an optical combiner. The first display panel provides wide field of view for peripheral vision, while the second panel offers ultra-high resolution for the central fovea. By an optical minifying system, both 4x and 5x enhanced resolutions are demonstrated. In addition, a Pancharatnam-Berry phase deflector is applied to actively shift the high-resolution region, in order to enable eye-tracking function. The proposed design effectively reduces the pixelation and screen-door effect in near-eye displays. The VAC issue in stereoscopic displays is believed to be the main cause of visual discomfort and fatigue when wearing VR headsets. In Chapter five, we propose a novel polarization-multiplexing approach to achieve multiplane display. A polarization-sensitive Pancharatnam-Berry phase lens and a spatial polarization modulator are employed to simultaneously create two independent focal planes. This method enables generation of two image planes without the need of temporal multiplexing. Therefore, it can effectively reduce the frame rate by one-half. In Chapter six, we briefly summarize our major accomplishments.


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Graduation Date





Wu, Shintson


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Optics and Photonics


Optics and Photonics

Degree Program

Optics and Photonics




CFE0008108; DP0023247





Release Date

February 2020

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)