Liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS or LCOS) is a miniaturized reflective active-matrix liquid-crystal display or "microdisplay" using a liquid crystal layer on top of a silicon backplane. It is also referred to as a spatial light modulator. LCoS was initially developed for projection televisions but is now used for wavelength selective switching, structured illumination, near-eye displays, and optical pulse shaping. By way of comparison, some LCD projectors use transmissive LCD, allowing light to pass through the liquid crystal.
In an LCoS display, a CMOS chip controls the voltage on square reflective aluminum electrodes buried just below the chip surface, each controlling one pixel. For example, a chip with XGA resolution will have 1024x768 plates, each with an independently addressable voltage. Typical cells are about 1–3 centimeters square and about 2 mm thick, with pixel pitch as small as 2.79 μm. A common voltage for all the pixels is supplied by a transparent conductive layer made of indium tin oxide on the cover glass.