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if I were to take laptop screen apart, would the backlight be a long, thin gadget along one of the edges, like maybe the bottom edge of the screen? Or is "backlight" actually a matrix of light emitting elements throughout the screen surface?

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I really want to recommend youtube.com/watch?v=jiejNAUwcQ8 , where a TFT is disassembled with explanations in a very pedagogical fashion. –  Daniel Andersson Apr 13 '12 at 11:55

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Newer laptops have LED lights throughout the rear surface, but older laptops have a CCFL fluorescent tube along an edge. I think it is usually along the bottom edge, allowing heat to rise out through the top.

There's a wikipedia page all about it.

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If its an old school CCFL bulb, this instructable talks about it - in effect its a REALLY small florescent bulb. –  Journeyman Geek Apr 13 '12 at 11:14
    
thanks. I guess the article was not very clear about what this stuff physically looks like. –  EndangeringSpecies Apr 13 '12 at 11:22
    
Depends on the screen basically –  ewanm89 Apr 13 '12 at 11:48

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