Development of a light-emitting diode tachistoscope

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Journal Article
Review of Scientific Instruments, 2010, 81 (3)
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This paper describes a new method for rapid visual stimulus delivery, the light-emitting diode (LED) tachistoscope. An array of white LEDs provided a luminous intensity greater than 1 000 000 mcd. This array was placed behind a liquid crystal display (LCD) to function as a backlight; switching it on and off determined the visibility of the display. Commands to illuminate for periods from 1 ms to continuously on were relayed from a computer to the LED array. Changes in luminous intensity at the surface of a LED and the LCD were recorded via oscilloscope. The required duration of light pulses consistently matched the durations displayed, with only microsecond discrepancies due to turn-on and turn-off delays. Images were illuminated on the LCD screen for as little as 1 ms, with the amplitude of the luminance consistent across trials. The LED tachistoscope can be used with any computer to display images extremely briefly, potentially at the submillisecond level, providing superior performance to traditional and computer monitor tachistoscopes. © 2010 American Institute of Physics.
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