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Flat Screen Monitor Technology

iFire flat screen monitorIn developing a hybrid electroluminescent flat-panel display screen—otherwise known as the flat colour TV screen or computer monitor—the idea was to offer an alternative to the heavy, thick-bodied and power-sucking desktop computer monitors of the time.

In the early 1990s, the electroluminescent (EL) display was less widely known technology. The best explanation of the EL display is found in a 1998 cover story in Discover magazine. "In an EL display, the inside of a transparent screen is coated with layers of phosphors and dielectrics, materials that don’t conduct electricity but can become polarized in the presence of an electric field. An alternating voltage applied to this sandwich forces electrons to move, first one way then the other, making the phosphors glow."

Electricity breaks down the dielectrics, forcing manufacturers to apply it in thin layers using an expensive technique called vacuum vapour deposition. Inventor Dr. Xingwei Wu’s solution was to use a different dielectric that would withstand higher voltage and could be applied in thicker layers, and thus, less expensively. He began building his layers all at once using a slurry of paste, a technique that did not provide optimal results.

What brought Dr. Wu’s team to the threshold of a breakthrough was an innovation of the simplest degrees—a technique similar to that used in silk-screening T-shirts, in which the slurry was forced through a fine metal mesh onto the glass display screen where it would dry to the desired thickness.

"Those so-called low-tech processes had been forgotten in high-tech industries," he told Discover magazine in 1998.

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