In case we’ve said that the word “plasma” would be as usual as the word ”airplane” some 20 years ago we would be derided. The word “plasma” was pronounced exceptionally in scientific groups. And even an assumption that the special term, determining one of the physical conditions of substance will find a permanent application in our way of life could not get in our mind. Today the word “plasma” is often used term. Big-sized flat screens which operate under the principle of that physical process are named by this term. From the very beginning of their appearance these plasma displays riveted on great attention of many consumers. That was not surprising! At that time common TV device pretended to the dimensions of 32 inches, however the plasma display has laid claim to 42 inches at once. Moreover even ordinary people far from physics have noticed one very great advantage of this new device – small thickness of carcass. These two parameters – thickness of carcass and the dimensions of screen distinguish plasma from other devices of information transmission.

What is plasma?

Plasma is ionized gas. The concentration of plus and minus charges in plasma is equal. The overwhelming substance of Universe is in plasma condition: stars, galaxy nebulas and interstellar space. We know that the plasma is also revealed around our planet Earth. It shows in a way of solar wind, magnetosphere and ionosphere. Plasma is also used in engineering, for example, in plasmatrons and plasma engines.

The history of creation of plasma panels

It was the year of 1936. There was Donald Bitser from Illinois University who was working at educational systems which were to allow to represent not only letters and figures but also graphics. But the progress in this sphere was great. Eventually Bitser gathered a group to work with over new project. He decided to find out the way of working of matrix from neon cells if in case to transmit high-frequency electrical stream through it. For his exploration Bitser involved in the work Jene Slottov and a student Robert Vilson. We don’t know how their work was going but there is one fact – all three names were included in the patent of the invention. In the summer of 1964 the first plasma display has appeared. It is funny, but it was comprised of only one pixel. Today each panel comprises several millions. It is apparent that one pixel display is not a real display. However in 10 years the acceptable results were achieved. In 1971 the production licence on displays Digivue was sold to Owens-Illinois & Co. In 1983 the University of Illinois gained 1 million dollars from selling the licence on “plasma” to IBM. Plasma displays were used in PLATO computer terminals. That same year the panel IBM 3290 Information Panel had appeared – the first commercial product produced in mass number. In 1982 displays Plasmascope for ballistic missile launch control had begun produced. But soon firms producing computers stopped their production. IBM also refused to produce it in 1987. In early 1990s commercial LCD displays cropped up making plasma displays depart from the market. That time black-and-white plasma panels were produced and it was hard to compete with LCD. Nevertheless “plasma” got accustomed to Matsushita Company now is famous as Panasonic. At last in 1999 perspective 60-inches prototype was created with remarkable brightness and contrast best in this field. From that time short rise of plasma technology had begun. In the beginning the panels were sold perfectly – they had flat screens, and what is really important any other technology could not produce comparatively cheap TVs of such dimensions.  But the situation changed dramatically in last 2 years. Now LCD monitors are produced with big sizes. In 2007 much more in quantitative parameters LCD and CRT TVs were sold than plasma TVs. According to official statistic reports only 7% of the whole market is covered by plasma TVs and other plasma devices, much more is by LCD. More and more people prefer LCD screens rather than “plasma”. But we are all in breathless pending of something new to appear.