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US slang an agent of the FBI
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)


(Field Emission Display) A flat panel display that provides an image quality equal to or better than a CRT. Like a CRT, it uses a vacuum-filled chamber and phosphor-coated glass. However, instead of illuminating phosphors with three "guns" that scan the entire screen, FEDs use hundreds of millions of stationary emitters, with some 1600 of them per pixel. Some designs use low voltage emission and high current while others use high voltage and low current, which is more like a standard CRT.

Invented in the 1970s
Although the field emission display was invented in the 1970s, it took more than two decades to produce working models. With hundreds of patents on the technology, PixTech was the pioneer in this field with small displays in production in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Other companies including Futaba, Ratheon, Motorola, TI, Candescent and Sony were also involved in FED development. However, during that same period, advances in active matrix LCDs were extraordinary, and although FEDs were considered more rugged and useful in harsher environments than LCD panels, the technology has yet to see any mass market. See surface-conduction electron-emitter display.

The FED Technology
This illustration, which is somewhat conceptual, shows how the energy flows from the microtips to the phosphors (anode). Electrons from the negatively charged (-) cone column are emitted when the gate row is positively charged (+). The electrons then flow to the phosphors that are momentarily given a larger positive charge (+++), which, in this diagram, are the red ones. The pixels are addressed 180 times per second, providing a very high refresh rate. (Redrawn from illustration courtesy of PixTech.)
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