The display industry holds a US viewing

The display industry holds a US viewingSteve Bush The showcase event of the displays industry is on this week in Anaheim California. Organised by the Society for Information Display, the SID ‘98 exhibition and conference is where display companies compete to show off their technology. As usual, LCDs and CRTs dominate the papers at the conference, but there are also some weird and wonderful highlights. For instance, Xerox is introducing Gyricon, an ‘electronic’ paper material on which images form when a patterned electric field is applied. Another novelty is a paper by MicroOptical of Boston which discusses the issues when fitting a head-up display into a pair of glasses and proposes a practical solution. Among the main-stream papers at the conference is one by NEC on its 50-inch colour AC plasma display. This huge thing has 1356 x 768 pixels with 17 million colours. Both HDTV images and XGA graphics can be displayed and contrast is high at a claimed 350:1. The UK is represented by, among others, Philips Research Labs in Surrey. It has been invited to talk about its plastic substrate active matrix LCDs. Plastic is highly desirable as a substrate material, particularly for portable applications, because it is light and rugged. But thin film transistor (TFT) processing temperatures are too high and damage it. Philips has a low temperature (180?C) ‘top-gate’ TFT made from amorphous silicon and silicon nitride that could be the solution. PCD at SID 98… Californian company New Logic claims several benefits for its Photocathode Display, including CRT-comparable luminance and viewing angle as well as high efficiency. It is based on image intensifier technology where light striking a photocathode releases electrons which are accelerated into a phosphor screen. In this case, the original light comes from a low power emissive monochrome display of any type – New Logic is using a low cost AC electroluminescent display. A 10kV field speeds the electrons and either colour or monochrome phosphors produce the display required. The efficiency of the low power display is largely unimportant because power consumption in dominated by the accelerator. A world record is claimed by Sarnoff, Planar Systems and AlliedSignal for a jointly developed active matrix electroluminescent display. It has a total pixel rate of 800Mbit/s, the highest ever for a flat panel display. Eight channels at 100MHz feed a 1280 x 1024 array of 12 x 12?m pixels. The key to speed is its crystalline silicon transistors with a 1.2?m effective channel length. Motorola, one of the quieter developers of field emission displays (FEDs), is showing a 5.1-inch full-colour quarter VGA display. It is a Spindt-tip type and has both NTSC and VGA controllers built in. Other colour QVGA FEDs on show are a 5-inch one from Samsung and a 4.4-inch one from Candescent Technologies of San Jose. To add a touch of reality to SID this year, 31 different display types are being operated side by side to allow delegates to judge the relative merits for themselves. Conditions are strictly controlled and the same display patterns are shown on all displays simultaneously.   PCD at a glance Resolution better than 50 line pairs/mm Efficiency over 30 lm/W Brightness up to 300cd/m 2 160? viewing angle CRT-like colour and cost

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