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Definition: plasma display


Also called "gas discharge display," a plasma display was an earlier flat-screen technology that used tiny cells lined with phosphor that were full of inert ionized gas (typically a mix of xenon and neon). Plasma displays were similar to the way neon signs work combined with the phosphors of a CRT. In fact, a plasma screen was like having a miniature CRT for each pixel (see CRT).

Plasma TVs Were Top of the Line
Initially monochrome displays for laptops in the 1980s, color displays for TVs emerged in the 1990s to eventually become the most coveted TV technology (see plasma TV). See flat panel TV, phosphor and surface-conduction electron-emitter display.




Plasma Pixels
Each pixel comprised three ionized gas cells lined with red, green and blue phosphors. Sandwiched between x- and y-axis panels, a cell was selected by charging the intersecting x-y electrodes. The charge caused the gas to emit ultraviolet light, which caused the phosphor to emit color. The amount of charge determined the intensity, and the combination of different intensities of red, green and blue produced all the colors and shades.






LCD vs. Plasma
LCD creates colors entirely different than plasma. Whereas plasma uses gas and phosphors, LCD uses liquid crystals, color filters and backlights. See LCD vs. plasma.