The Story Behind FLCOS Microdisplays


Our microdisplays are high-speed, low-power ferroelectric liquid crystal on silicon (FLCOS) systems that provide brilliant, full-color images in an extremely small footprint. The quality of this technology is already well-recognized by our customers. More than 21-million of our imaging devices have shipped to some of the world’s premier consumer electronics companies including Citizen and many other companies.

Representing an excellent opportunity to integrate MDCA’s groundbreaking technology and patents into our world-class portfolio, Citizen Finedevice Group entered the microdisplay business by acquiring business assets from Micron Technology, Inc. We have a long heritage of developing best-in-class technology, and our patent coverage extends across the entire display panel value-chain. From liquid crystal materials through device structures to electronic and optical systems, our patents put us in an excellent position to further extend the superior performance and competitive advantages of the MDCA product line.

A History of MDCA, Inc.


Founded in 1985 in Boulder, Colorado, Displaytech began carrying out research to commercialize ferroelectric liquid crystal technologies. Ferroelectric liquid crystals (FLC) are much faster than similar liquid crystal technologies, switching up to 100 times faster. An important milestone was reached with the development of the first FLC materials that operated reliably within a broad temperature range. The company supported itself during the initial decade with government-funded research and by manufacturing FLC electro-optic devices for sale to university and industrial research laboratories. During this period the company developed and demonstrated the first liquid crystal on silicon device using foundry silicon. The company also developed a pilot manufacturing line to create the finished display product.


In 1999, based on its success in producing FLC materials that operated over a full commercial temperature range, Displaytech launched a line of microdisplays for use as electronic viewfinders in digital cameras and camcorders. That year Displaytech also selected Citizen Miyota as a manufacturing partner and transferred process know-how to them, enabling them to successfully build FLCOS devices in high volume. Since then Displaytech has shipped over 21 million FLCOS microdisplays for use in digital still cameras, camcorders and other consumer electronics devices.


In August 2006 Displaytech licensed its electronic viewfinder product line to Citizen Miyota. The agreement allowed Displaytech to focus on a range of new products, including small projectors, mobile communications devices, data storage, head-mounted displays and more.


In May of 2009, Displaytech agreed to be acquired by Micron Technology, believing that combining their best-in-class display technology with the semiconductor innovator’s decades of experience and worldwide sales channel could provide mass-market possibilities that were previously unattainable.

2012 – Today

CITIZEN FINEDEVICE CO., LTD., a subsidiary of CITIZEN WATCH CO., LTD. in Japan, acquired Micron’s display business unit in August 2012, and established Miyota Development Center of America (MDCA.) MDCA’s core expertise is in Ferroelectric Liquid Crystal (FLC) R&D and manufacturing, and custom Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) single-chip display designs. These FLC materials and chip designs find application in consumer products ranging from head-mounted display solutions for Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) products, viewfinders in digital still cameras and digital video cameras, and for extremely small projection devices.

Located in Longmont Colorado, MDCA combines the fast switching properties of FLC with novel silicon designs to deliver high resolution display solutions with a strong competitive advantage in size, cost, and power. Citizen Finedevice chose to keep MDCA in Longmont, CO, because the tech activity and lifestyle in Boulder County allows us the opportunity to attract and retain talented people to architect and design the next generation of FLCOS displays.

MDCA’s President, Mr. Rikoku Nakamura, adds that MDCA is continually considering additional applications for the unique advantages of our liquid crystal and silicon technology. Development of these additional business opportunities will drive growth for MDCA at our Longmont site.