Dr. Xingwei Wu
A technological breakthrough envisioned in 1936 was realized 60 years later when solid
state physicist Dr. Xingwei Wu developed the hybrid electroluminescent flat-panel display screenotherwise
known as the flat colour TV screen or computer monitor.
Dr. Wus work for the Fort Saskatchewan-based Westaim Corp. was to gain a foothold in the
market for flat-panel applications, estimated at around $20 billion.
"I think this will sell well," Dr. Wu told the Edmonton Journal in 1996 of the
cost-efficient screen he and a team of 20 physicists, chemists, engineers and technologists had spent five
Dr. Wus first screens were just 8.5 inches wide, but by 1999 he had developed to a
17-inch full-colour solid state display.
That same year, the company identified a market for 42-inch screens based on gas plasma
technology. With prices in the United States asking $12,000 for such a screen, Westaim felt it could offer
a similar product using its thick dielectric electroluminescence (TDEL) technology for $3,000. Westaims
approach in applying the layers of dielectric to the screen was compared to silk-screening on glass.
In 1998, Westaim spun off a separate division for its flat screen technology, naming it
Advanced Display Technologies (ADT) and moving its team to Toronto. The company had no plans to develop its
own television sets or computer monitors, but would look instead to forming a partnership with a major
electronics manufacturerTDK of Japanand to rechristen the Toronto-based ADT division as iFire
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