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Plasma Display

For the past 75 years, the vast majority of televisions have


been built around the same technology: the cathode ray
tube (CRT). In a CRT television, a gun fires a beam of
electrons (negatively-charged particles) inside a large glass
tube. The electrons excite phosphor atoms along the wide
end of the tube (the screen), which causes the phosphor
atoms to light up. The television image is produced by
lighting up different areas of the phosphor coating with
different colors at different intensities
Cathode ray tubes produce crisp, vibrant images, but they do
have a serious drawback: They are bulky. In order to
increase the screen width in a CRT set, you also have to
increase the length of the tube (to give the scanning
Photo courtesy Sony
electron gun room to reach all parts of the screen).
A plasma display from Sony
Consequently, any big-screen CRT television is going to
weigh a ton and take up a sizable chunk of a room.
Recently, a new alternative has popped up on store shelves: the plasma flat panel display.
These televisions have wide screens, comparable to the largest CRT sets, but they are only
about 6 inches (15 cm) thick. In this article, we'll see how these sets do so much in such a
small space.
Based on the information in a video signal, the television lights up thousands of tiny dots
(called pixels) with a high-energy beam of electrons. In most systems, there are three pixel
colors --red, green and blue --which are evenly distributed on the screen. By combining these
colors in different proportions, the television can produce the entire color spectrum.

The basic idea of a plasma display is to illuminate tiny, colored fluorescent lights to form
an image. Each pixel is made up of three fluorescent lights --a red light, a green light and
a blue light. Just like a CRT television, the plasma display varies the intensities of the
different lights to produce a full range of colors.
What is Plasma?
The central element in a fluorescent light is plasma, a gas made up of free-flowing ions
(electrically charged atoms) and electrons (negatively charged particles). Under normal
conditions, a gas is mainly made up of uncharged particles. That is, the individual gas atoms
include equal numbers of protons (positively charged particles in the atom's nucleus) and
electrons. The negatively charged electrons perfectly balance the positively charged protons,
so the atom has a net charge of zero.
If you introduce many free electrons into the gas by establishing an electrical voltage across it,
the situation changes very quickly. The free electrons collide with

the atoms, knocking loose other electrons. With a missing electron, an atom loses its balance.
It has a net positive charge, making it an ion.
In plasma with an electrical current running through it, negatively charged particles are
rushing toward the positively charged area of the plasma, and positively charged particles are
rushing toward the negatively charged area.

In this mad rush, particles are constantly bumping into each other. These collisions excite the
gas atoms in the plasma, causing them to release photons of energy. (For details on this
process, see How Fluorescent Lamps Work.)
Xenon and neon atoms, the atoms used in plasma screens, release light photons when
they are excited. Mostly, these atoms release ultraviolet light photons, which are
invisible to the human eye. But ultraviolet photons can be used to excite visible light
photons, as we'll see in the next section.

Inside the Display


The xenon and neon gas in a plasma television is contained in hundreds of thousands of tiny
cells positioned between two plates of glass. Long electrodes are also sandwiched between the
glass plates, on both sides of the cells. The address electrodes sit behind the cells, along the
rear glass plate. The transparent display electrodes, which are surrounded by an insulating
dielectric material and covered by a magnesium oxide protective layer, are mounted above
the cell, along the front glass plate.

Both sets of electrodes extend across the entire screen. The display electrodes are arranged
in horizontal rows along the screen and the address electrodes are arranged in vertical
columns. As you can see in the diagram below, the vertical and horizontal electrodes form a
basic grid. To ionize the gas in a particular cell, the plasma display's computer charges the
electrodes that intersect at that cell. It does this thousands of times in a small fraction of a
second, charging each cell in turn.

When the intersecting electrodes are charged (with a voltage difference between them),
electric current flows through the gas in the cell. As we saw in the last section, the current
creates a rapid flow of charged particles, which stimulates the gas atoms to release ultraviolet
photons. The released ultraviolet photons interact with phosphor material coated on the
inside wall of the cell. Phosphors are substances that give off light when they are exposed to
other light. When an ultraviolet photon hits a phosphor atom in the cell, one of the
phosphor's electrons jumps to a higher energy level and the atom heats up. When the
electron falls back to its normal level, it releases energy in the form of a visible light
photon.

The phosphors in a plasma display give off colored light when they are excited. Every pixel is
made up of three separate sub pixel cells, each with different colored phosphors. One sub
pixel has a red light phosphor, one sub pixel has a green light phosphor and one sub pixel has
a blue light phosphor. These colors blend together to create the overall color of the pixel.
By varying the pulses of current flowing through the different cells, the control system
can increase or decrease the intensity of each sub pixel color to create hundreds of
different combinations of red, green and blue. In this way, the control system can
produce colors across the entire spectrum.
The main advantage of plasma display technology is that you can produce a very wide screen
using extremely thin materials. And because each pixel is lit individually, the image is very
bright and looks good from almost every angle. The image quality isn't quite up to the
standards of the best cathode ray tube sets, but it certainly meets most people's expectations.

The biggest drawback of this technology has been the price. However, falling prices and
advances in technology mean that the plasma display may soon edge out the old CRT sets.

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AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY- BANGLADESH (AIUB)


Faculty of Engineering

EEE3216: Electronics Shop


Experiment No.: 07
Name of the Experiment:

PCB FABRICATION
Introduction:
The passive lumped circuit elements (i.e. resistors, capacitors and inductors) and the
active devices (i.e. diodes, transistors, FETs, UJTs, ICs etc.) are assembled on an insulated
board commonly known as printed circuit board or PCB. This board has a thin layer of copper
(copper cladding) on one side. Sometimes copper cladding on both sides is also used. By
having copper removed from the undesired areas it is possible to connect the different legs of
the devices and elements in a compact manner. When properly soldered with the legs of these
devices and circuit elements the copper cladding gives support to this components. Here the
process of fabricating a PCB board (basically removing copper from the undesired areas
according to a predetermined plan) is discussed briefly.

t 1.0 1.5 mm

COPPER CLADDING

t
INSULATING/ DIELECTRIC
MATERIAL (FIBER/PTFE)

Fig. (8.1) Cross section of


a board with copper
cladding on one side

Fig. (8.2) Cross section of


a board with copper
cladding on both side

The fabrication process:


The process may be divided into eight parts as discussed belowi)

Preparation of a copper laminating board:


Copper cladded dielectric boards are usually available in the market in approximately
30" 48" size. A piece of copper cladded substrate (laminated board) is cut as per
requirement. The cutting work is usually done with small/medium size
automatic/manual type shear machine. A slight oversize piece is desirable
because it will be required to trim off the edges after the process of fabrication is
complete.
The piece of copper laminated board is cleaned with scrub cleaning powder and with
the help of a bristle brush, and then washed with tap water. Before coating with
photoresist, the piece of board is wiped with a tissue, soaked in acetone.

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ii) Coating the piece of board with positive photoresist:


The board is then uniformly coated with a very thin layer of positive photoresist (AZ
111 Shipley Chemicals). This is done by slowly dipping the laminate board into a
tank (made up of stainless steel) containing properly thinned solution of photoresist
and then vertically raising the board at a very slow and steady rate. This is usually
done by an automatic arrangement. The resist coated board is then dired inside
an oven at approximately 60c 70c for half an hour. After this the board is
cooled down to room temperature. The coating then becomes hard.
Some manufacturers sell these boards in readily coated (with photoresist) form.
For protecting the photoresist coating of these ready boards from light and scratch, a
thin cover of black adhesive plastic sheet is provided by the manufacturers. This
plastic cover is peeled off just before exposure in u.v. light.
Besides these, aerosol photoresist spray is also available in small pressurized cans.
Using these cans, one can spray photoresist on a small piece of laminate board.
One must bear in mind that the coating must be uniform. One can work with these
aerosol photoresist sprays in a neat manner and also quickly. However, for large
pieces it will be difficult to maintain uniformity with these pressurized cans of
photoresist.

BOARD

CORD

MICROSWITCH FOR
REVERSING THE
MOTOR ROTATION

BOARD

STAINLESS
STEEL TANK

MOTOR

OVEN

PHOTORESIST

BASE PLATE

Fig. (8.3) A possible arrangement for


slowly dipping the board into
photoresist and slowly drawing it out.

Fig. (8.4) Drying the


board inside an oven

iii) Mask preparation and exposing the resist coated board under u.v. light:
The laminated board is now coated with photoresist and ready for u.v. light exposure.
The required circuit layout pattern should be ready in the form of a mask so
that light can pass through the mask in areas where copper is not wanted,
while the places, where copper is to be kept, should be dark. This mask is then

Page 3 of 4
placed on top of the laminated board and the resist coated in this state is exposed to
u.v. light by using a u.v. light exposure machine specially made for this purpose. The
u.v. light exposure machine is usually equipped with a timer switch on its front
panel so that exposure can be made for a definite period of time. Depending on the
intensity of light the time is determined. Often the required time is determined by
making a number of trials on a separate trial board.
iv) Developing the image:
After the exposure is completed, the exposed resist coated laminated board is
dipped into hot (40c) developer solution (one bog sachet of sodium hydroxide
in 4 liters of water). The time required for developing the image is approximately 1
minute. During developing the resist in the u.v. light expose portion will be slowly
changing color at first and then will be washed away completely. The unexposed (i.e.
masked) photoresist will remain as it was.
After developing the image properly the board is taken out of the developer solution,
washed with water in a spray wash tank and dried. At this stage the images are
inspected under light and any minor defect may be mended by etch resist ink pen.
The board is then ready for etching.
v) Etching the laminate board:
The board is then dipped into a heated bubble etch tank for etching off copper of
the uncoated area of the board. A temperature of 40c is maintained by using the
thermostatic control arrangement of the tank. A bubble agitator is usually
provided to expedite the etching process. Ferric chloride hexahydrate crystals
are used for making the etch solution. With a 2 kg pack of this chemical, one can
make 4 liters of etchant.
vi) Removing the photo resist coating from the copper:
The board now has copper only in places where different connection paths exist and
where the legs of the components and devices are to be soldered. However the layer
of photoresist is still present on top of these copper which are to be removed. For
this purpose resist stripper chemicals sold by different companies may be used.
Also tissues, soaked in acetone may be used for wiping away the photoresist
coating. For multiple operations and large volume jobs, concentrated solution
of caustic soda at elevated temperature in a tank is used for dipping the board into
it. A spray wash tank is necessary for washing.
vii) Tinning:
For protecting the copper from weather and for ease of soldering tinning is necessary.
A tank containing the solution of stannous chloride at elevated temperature (say
60c) is required. The etched copper laminate board is cleaned with cleaning
brush rubbed with erasers and then dipped into the tank containing the
stannous chloride solution and kept there for 4 to 5 minutes.
viii)
Trimming the edges and making drilled holes:
Finally the edges of the board are trimmed with appropriate cutting machine. Holes
of appropriate dimensions are drilled in the required places. The board is now ready
for assembling the components.

Page 4 of 4

DEVELOPER
SOLUTION

WATER SPRAY
WASH TANK

FERRIC
CHLORIDE
ETCHING
SOLUTION

TINNING
SOLUTION

DRAIN
PIPES
WATER SUPPLY PIPE

HEATING ELEMENTS
AGITATOR PUMP

Fig. (8.5) Four tanks in one housing for developing image, washing,
etching and tinning
Precautions to be taken:
A portion of this work is to be done inside dark room, where no sunlight should be
allowed to enter. Darkroom lights or lights with appropriate filter cover, should be used. The
etching work can be done in daylight. Ferric chloride solution is harmful for skin and cloths, so
gloves and apron must be used. Besides, boiling ferric chloride with bubble agitator can be
dangerous for eyes. So laboratory specs must be used during this work. Ferric chloride solution
leaves stains on the floors and causes harm (corrosion) to the sinks. Cleanliness is to be
maintained and the total work must be done with care.

Created by Md. Sharfuddin Ahmed. Lecturer EEE, AIUB.