Flat panel FEDs

US-based Candescent Technologies and Sony Corporation are to jointly develop high-voltage Field Emission Display (FED) technology for a next-generation of thin, flat-panel computer displays.

The high-voltage FED technology can be used to create full colour displays in which each pixel on the screen produces light separately by a corresponding electrical discharge array (micro-electron gun). Each electrical discharge array employs semiconductor technology to individually activate a single pixel by focusing a beam of electrons from each of the cathode emitters on the individual phosphor elements.

Because this is the same light generating principle used in the CRT, it is possible to achieve a similar level of brightness, viewing angle, and speed of response. Additionally, because there is no need for an electron gun mechanism or deflection plate, FED displays can be made using a thin, lightweight design that is similar to that used for LCD displays.

High-voltage FED displays employ an anode with a potential difference of about 5kV, allowing the pixels of the screen to be made from similar phosphor materials used for CRT screens, making it possible to achieve high levels of brightness.

Candescent and Sony plan to jointly develop the technology necessary to establish 14in and larger full colour high-voltage FEDs as a powerful next-generation, flat-screen display format that will be ready for volume production within the next two years.

Other manufacturers currently in the FED market include Futaba and Micron Display. Japanese developers Fujitsu and Toshiba are also known to be working on FED displays. Fujitsu is believed to be discussing some joint development work with a UK company and will make a decision within the next three years on whether to commercialise FED technology.