History of PDPs


~ 19th century


In 1675 : Gas discharge discovered by Jean Picard.

In 1838 : Michael Faraday made an experiment in gas discharge.


~ the 1960s

In 1927 : Bell Co. displayed on TV using a discharge tube.



In 1954 : Burroughs Co. discovered DC-PDP(NIXIE).



In 1964 : The first panel attached to a glass vacuum system at the University of Illinois in 1964.     The arrow points to the 1 inch by 1 inch panel with one pixel. This had the same     alternating sustain voltage, neon gas and dielectric glass insulated electrodes that we     use today. The wall charge that collected on the dielectric walls allowed it to have     inherent memory-just as today.



In 1966 : First publication of PDP 4×4 pixel panel presented by University of Illinois at 1996      Fall joint Computer Conf.


~ the 1970s

In 1970 : NHK Broadcast Technical Research Institute started to study PDP. Many PDP Co. in     Japan started PDP research.


~ the 1980s


In 1984 : Three Electrode color prototype developed by Fujitsu. It had three driven electrodes      along with one floating electrode, all on the back plate, and only the phosphor on      the front plate.



In 1986 : Energy Recover Sustain Circuit developed at the University of Illinois in 1986. This      circuit is used in all of todays products to reduce the power by hundreds of watts.



In 1986 : First three electrode product introduced by AT&T.
This monochrome surface-discharge panel had the data electrode on the front plate     in addition to the scan and sustain electrodes on the back plate. The barrier ribs were     on the front between the data electrodes. All of todays color products use a similar     three electrode structure except the roles of the front plate and the back plates are     exchanged.


The 1990s ~


In 1990 : First 31 inch ADS grey scale developed by Fujitsu. This prototype had all the        elements of the modern color PDP: Three electrode structure with phosphor on        back plate, ADS grey scale and Ne-Xe gas.



In 1996 : First 42 inch full color product introduced by Fujitsu. All of todays PDPs followed      the lead of this product and 42 inch is still the most popular size today.



In 2004 : LG Electronics unveiled the worlds first commercialized XGA-grade(42-inch) single      scan drive technology.



In 2004 : LG Electronics developed a PDP module with the worlds highest brightness        (1500cd/m²) and contrast ratio(5000:1).



In 2004 : Samsung SDI developed the worlds largest, 102-inch plasma display panel (PDP)      flat television screen.



Characteristics of PDP



PDP has many advantages fit for making a full size among flat display areas such as LCD(Liquid Crystal Display), FED(Field Emission Display), ELD(Electroluminescence Display) which are currently under active research and development. What makes PDP possible to be a large size as flat lies in the plasma formation method. It uses two glass substrates with thickness 3mm in structure and electrode and phosphors are coated on each substrate. Then, 0.1~0.2mm gap is kept between the two substrates and the space between them plasma is formed. The reason that PDP is possibly manufactured as wall-hanging HDTV, large size flat display over 40 inch is due to its properties as follows.

Very strong nonlinear

Despite voltage supply between electrodes, gas discharge does not occur if voltage supplied is below the discharge starting voltage, which is a very strong nonlinear characteristic. Thus, in addressing a large size panel of over 1000 pixels per a line, line addressing method can have optional discharge and so in addressing a panel of 1000*1000 discharge cell it does not require 100 million lines but only 2000 addressing circuits. Using this characteristic, gray scale of digital method can be realized. Currently, Full Color PDP of 256 gray scale display capability is under development.

Memory function

PDP determines the next state by the previous conditions, which is called Memory function of PDP. In case of AC type, by a wall electric charge formed on a dielectric, memory addressing is possible. In case of DC type, memory addressing is possible by pulse memory method. Memory function is imperative in addressing large size display. In such case of addressing by this kind of memory method, super large panel enable to express the image of best quality without decrease of brightness.

Long life span

AC type prolongs life span, using preventive layer such as MgO of preferable sputtering characteristic whereas DC type gets long life span by employing current control resistance, seals a little amount of Hg or increase gas pressure, which leads to ion shock, and, it reduces sputtering damage of electrode substance. In the perspective of life span, AC type lasts longer. Currently, products of AC type insures to last 20,000 hours. In principle, it is possible to last over 10,000 hours.

High brightness and high luminescence efficiency

Currently is developed an AC type of PDP with 350/ brightness and 1/W efficiency. In accordance with the theory of gas discharge phenomenon, it is possible to have PDP with over 500 cd/m2 high brightness and over 4 /W high efficiency. However, in consideration of CRT peak brightness of CRT 700/m2 and a few /W efficiency, brightness and efficiency of PDP needs to be improved more. The betterment is expected to come true through plasma generation by employing effective electrode structure and addressing circuit, improvement of ultraviolet rays emission efficiency and betterment of phosphors visible rays transformation efficiency.

Optical viewing angle

PDP has a wide viewing angle as self emissive display. Both AC type and DC type has over 160° wide viewing angle in every direction, which is the same level of CRT.

Easier full colorizing

Color realization of PDP exploits the photoluminescence mechanism that ultraviolet rays generated from discharge stimulate phosphor layer and radiates visible rays. By doing so, it is possible to reproduce color to the level of CRT. Thus, very excellent full color realization can be possible through betterment of brightness and achievement of high contrast by advancement of technology afterward.

Low manufacturing price

PDP generally makes use of soda-lime glass prevalent as a substrate and the materials of electrode, dielectric layer, barrier rib, and so on can be manufactured at a low price. So, if manufacturing process technology is established for a mass production, it can go into a mass production at a low price. Within 1-2 years , PDP TV will be produced at customer price 100/inch in estimates.

Heat-resistant, Cold-resistant characteristics

Plasma generated at each pixel of PDP is hardly influenced by barrier rib or electrode at temperature range of -100ɡ100. So, the temperature range of PDP addressing is determined by a semiconductor device used in addressing circuit.


If we make CRT 40 inch size, TV set overweighs 100 Kg. Whereas, PDP with the same size weighs no more than 20 Kg and this can be reduced a lot more in estimates by making components lighter.




Observation of PDP














Larry F. Weber, In celebration of 40 years of PDP history, The 11th International Display Workshops (IDW04), pp. 859-862, Niigata, Japan, December 8-10, 2004