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  Vecta on Flat Panel Display Technology Trends
  Medium-sized displays, once the preserve of Cathode Ray Tube (CRT), are gradually being displaced by other technologies.
  Colour CRTs use three heated cathodes to produce the three electron beams which are accelerated and guided towards the back of the TV or monitor screen using electric and magnetic fields. At the screen the electrons excite the phosphor coating to emit red, green or blue light and create the picture. Despite efforts to create a completely flat front panel, this comes with penalties in depth, power and weight.

Active Matrix Liquid Crystal Displays dominate the market for low-power, flat-panel computer displays. Active Matrix Liquid Crystal Displays achieve higher frame rates than simple LCDs by using a matrix of transistors mounted on the display to drive each picture element (pixel). This technology now in its 8th or 9th generation, dominates monitor and TV applications.

Field Emission Displays are relatively new and small in size, but because of their low power, high brightness and wide viewing angle, they are replacing CRTs in many aerospace instrumentation applications. FEDs still use phosphor coatings on the inside of the screen to create the image. However, each picture element (pixel) has its own source of electrons controlled by modest voltages applied to a matrix of metal strips deposited on the inside surfaces of the back and front of the device. They don't need the long beam path used in CRTs and are bright, fast, flat and thin. FED viewing angles and brilliance are comparable to those of a CRT. However, because they create red , blue and green images sequentially in the same time as the CRT produces one image, they have less flicker. Their very low power and light weight make them ideal for hand-portable applications.

Plasma displays and plasma-assisted liquid crystal displays use an effect of ionised gases to simplify pixel addressing and achieve good display performance. As a result they have become the de facto standard for larger screen sizes. Further size and resolution developments are likely to help them retain this position, where their high cost is not critical, for some years.

Plastics-based displays, using organic semiconductor from companies such as Cambridge Display Technologies or Plastic Logic, offer very low power consumption, extremely low manufacturing costs and rugged yet flexible structures.

  The CRT was the standard display for television and early PCs. However technologies now exist that have displaced CRT from almost all applications.

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