Cheaper, Better Plasma

As evidenced by the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, plasma screen television sets are steadily gaining market share, with every major consumer electronics manufacturer showing a variety of sizes and features. The thin displays look poised to dominate the market in coming years, providing resolution continues to increase and prices continue to drop.

Last week DuPont Microcircuit Materials announced plans to foster both higher plasma resolutions and lower prices, with its expansion of manufacturing facilities at its Manati, Puerto Rico site. The plant produces the company's "Fodel Thick Film Photoprintable Compositions" used in the plasma display panel (PDP) market. Concurrently, DuPont is launching a new generation of Fodel products to "meet the needs for finer line resolution and lower panel manufacturing costs."

DuPont says the additional investment in production capacity will triple current capacity for Fodel materials in the next few months. The company's Hal Snyder says, "Expansion of the class 1000 particle-controlled clean room will help ensure a stable supply of high quality Fodel materials. This expansion will enhance our ability to meet the expected 40–50% annual growth of our customers in the PDP market for the next three years."

To better meet demands of PDP manufacturers, DuPont says, it has launched its next generation Fodel two-layer electrode system. According to the company, lower resistivity enables new conductor designs at lower panel manufacturing cost. "New materials also achieve line resolution of 20 microns, significantly better than the 75 microns currently used in production," says DuPont. "Improved resolution is particularly important as the industry moves toward high definition television (HDTV) and super extended graphics array (SXGA) applications."