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picture tube[′pik·chər ‚tüb]
A cathode-ray tube used as a television picture tube. Television picture tubes use large glass envelopes that have a light-emitting layer of luminescent material deposited on the inner face. A modulated stream of high-velocity electrons scans this luminescent layer in a series of horizontal lines so that the picture elements (light and dark areas) are recreated.
In a color picture tube (see illustration), the glass bulb is made in two pieces, the face panel and the funnel-neck region. The separate face panel allows the fabrication of the segmented phosphor screen and the mounting of the shadow mask. The two glass pieces are sealed together by a special frit to provide a strong vacuum-tight seal.
The light-emitting colored phosphors on the segmented screen can be either in dot arrays or, now more commonly, in line arrays. Typically, the trios of vertical phosphor lines are spaced 0.6– 0.8 mm apart. Most tubes use a black matrix screen in which the phosphor lines are separated by opaque black lines. This black matrix reduces reflected light, thereby giving better contrast, and also provides a tolerance for the registration of the electron beam with the phosphor lines.
The shadow mask is made of a thin (0.10–0.17 mm) steel sheet in which elongated slits (one row of slits for each phosphor-line trio) have been photoetched. It is formed to a contour similar to that of the glass panel and is mounted at a precise distance from the glass. The width of the slits and their relative position to the phosphor lines are such that the electron beam from one of the three electron guns can strike only one of the sets of color phosphor lines. The shadow mask “shadows” the beam from the other two sets of phosphor lines.
The electron gun for color is similar to that for monochrome except that there are three guns, usually arranged side by side, or in-line. This triple gun has common structural elements, but uses three independent cathodes with separate beam forming and focusing for each beam.
The electromagnetic deflection yoke deflects or bends the beams, as in a monochrome tube, to scan the screen in a television raster. In addition, the yoke's magnetic field is shaped so that the three beams will be deflected in such a way that they land at the same phosphor trio on the screen at the same time. This convergence of the beams produces three images, one in red, one in green, and one in blue, that are superimposed to give a full-color picture. See Cathode-ray tube, Television
CRT(1) (CRunTime) See runtime library.
(2) (Cathode Ray Tube) A vacuum tube used as a display screen in a computer monitor or TV. The viewing end of the tube is coated with phosphors, which emit light when struck by electrons.
In the past, CRT was a popular term for a computer display terminal. Today, "monitor" is the correct term as computer displays have long since migrated from CRTs to LCD panels (see flat panel display). Likewise, TV sets no longer use CRTs (see flat panel TV).
Electrons and Phosphors
The CRT works by heating a cathode which causes electrons to flow. Accelerating and focusing anodes turn the electrons into a fine beam that is directed to the phosphors by magnetic fields that are generated by steering coils. The viewing end of a color CRT tube is coated with red, green and blue phosphor dots, and separate "electron guns" bombard their respective colors a line at a time in a prescribed sequence (see raster scan).
The resulting color displayed on screen is derived by the intensity of the electron beams as they strike the red, green and blue phosphors and cause them to glow at each pixel location. See cathode and vacuum tube.
Back to the 1800s
The first oscilloscope tube was developed in 1897 by German scientist Ferdinand Braun. Using a fluorescent screen and still known as a "Braun tube" in Germany, his "cathode-ray oscilloscope" was used to display the patterns of electronic signals. Although better known for inventing the CRT, Braun shared the Nobel Prize in 1909 with Guglielmo Marconi for wireless telegraphy.
|The Braun Tube - 1897|
|Using a bellows, it took a strong man to evacuate the air from this tube. The successor to Sir William Crookes' vacuum tubes some 20 years earlier, these tubes used unheated "cold" cathodes that required a huge voltage. (Image courtesy of O'Neill's Electronic Museum)|
|Bulky But Magic in the 1950s|
|Although clunky by comparison to today's color screens, millions of people were thrilled when they first watched CRT-based monochrome TV. (Image courtesy of Vintage Vibe, www.thevintagevibestore.com)|
|CRT vs. Flat Panel|
|The CRT gave way to LCD panels in the late 1990s, taking less space, less power and emitting less radiation. This high-quality EIZO LCD monitor was state-of-the-art in 1999. (Image courtesy of EIZO Nanao Technologies Inc.)|
|CRT Front Projection|
|The first data and TV projectors used CRTs, and although mostly abandoned, they continue to provide the highest quality. In 2006, this home theater was built by a serious video enthusiast. See front-projection TV. (Images courtesy of Kal of CurtPalme.com)|
|CRT Rear Projection|
|Although big and bulky, the Pioneer Elite Pro-107 was perhaps the best CRT-based rear-projection TV ever made. Still working fine after 17 years, this unit was sold for a pittance in 2010. See rear-projection TV.|