Technology Talk


Don’t Fight the FED — a new Hi-Def TV Contender

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In a world of innovative FPD (Flat Panel Displays), where emerging technologies are involved in sizzling competition to top their rivals, one of the new kids on the block is simply called FED. FED stands for Field Emission Display and is yet another promising challenger for high-definition video looking to make its way to the marketplace. Similar to many of the contemporary ways to project light into the eyes of demanding consumers, FED utilizes some of the dependable methods of cathode ray tubes (CRTs) to stimulate phosphors with electrons which in turn, discharge the deeply rich colors to produce the marvelous clarity that is HDTV (High Definition Television).

The ingenious FED design has no electron beam navigation circuitry (the proven, but bulky and soon to be outdated electron gun technology) and can be as thin as 10 millimeters, because each pixel has a dedicated electron generator. Ten mm is the equivalent to less than one-half-inch, so the display can be exceedingly slender.

FED technology discovery channel

FED works by shooting electrons from a fine tip cathode to the anode across the thin flat panel space that is actually a vacuum. This mini-lightning in a vacuum sends the electrons across the tiny gap. Once the electrons are accelerated through the strong electrical field they strike the phosphorescent material on the other side of the plate and then emit photons. It is surprising to note that the FED ideas go back to the 1950’s although it was just a theory on the drawing board until the late sixties when some experiments were undertaken by Spindt.

Much of the excitement that centers on FED is that it can be a few times brighter than current LCD televisions and uses only one-third, or even less, energy! FED technology also has an excellent contrast ratio between the lightest and darkest shades and particularly vibrant colors. Shooting electrons from the metal tips has encountered many challenges, and the creation of carbon nanotubes may pave the way for Samsung to make more progress with the FED idea. Samsung is working on a method of producing electrons without the need for a fine tip.

Among the many advantages of FED over other types of video displays is that it does not require a bright internal light that will have to be replaced over time. It also has a wide viewing angle that we have grown accustomed to from the CRT’s, and it has a rapid response time. FED runs cooler than most other display methods and doesn’t need to “warm-up” when the set is switched on. An electron gun uses heat to produce electrons and generates too much unneeded heat. Field Emission Displays are just one of the possible methods of creating the optimum way to produce stunning hi-images at a low cost.

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The number of new ways is only limited by our imaginations and laboratories willing to explore new avenues for HDTV. As we gain more experience and can work with smaller and smaller components, the future holds almost unlimited possibilities for spectacular new ways to image and imagine our world.

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