Though the technology has been around
for many years, Field Emission Display (FED) televisions are not
something the common consumer would probably know about. While
FED-TVs promise to be the next generation of HDTV displays, brighter
and more efficient than plasma, more reliable than LCD, and much less
bulky than CRT, the high cost of production has kept the technology
from reaching the consumer. Enter our friend, the carbon nanotube.
by a group of universities, including University of Latvia,
University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin, University of
London, and Mid Sweden University, has demonstrated the conductive
and field emission properties of single and multi walled carbon
nanotubes. The researchers used a transmission electron
microscope-scanning tunneling microscope to collect the data from
nanotubes that were grown by chemical vapor and supercritical fluid
deposition techniques. They found that the properties of the
nanotubes were dependent on the structure of the tube.
The research is important for TV
manufacturers because it will allow them to craft nanotubes with the
best possible characteristics for use in FED-TVs.
FED-TVs work most similarly to a blend
of plasma and CRT display technology. FED panels use a cathode tube
and phosphorous type system like CRTs, while maintaining the matrix
type arrangement of plasma's gas and phosphorous single pixel system.
Rather than a controlled beam
stimulating a phosphorous coating to excite it to emit light, CNT FED
displays use the nanotubes as electron emitters, stimulating the
phosphor directly. This is more similar in panel mechanics to how
plasma displays use charged gas to emit ultra-violet light which in
turn stimulates the phosphors in each of its pixels.
Since each pixel in a FED display is
backed by many nanotubes, even if 20 percent of the tubes behind a
pixel fail for some reason, it will not suffer from the infamous dead
pixel that LCDs are notorious for. FED-TVs should also pack a
response time better than plasmas, which is already more than fast
enough, so fast-motion image blurring should not be an issue. Add to
this the flat panel display form factor, and it's hard to argue that
FED-TVs could be the next great thing for consumers who want the best
As production methods for these
displays becomes easier, due to research like what is being done at
these universities, cost will come down. Consumers may eventually see
Sony debuting a, what is hopefully more than an 11 inch, FED-TV that
will impress like the XEL-1 OLED TV.