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A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Engineer to develop display materials

By Liz Crumbley

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 12 - November 14, 1996

Jesse J. Brown Jr., a professor of materials science and engineering at Virginia Tech, has signed a two-year, $270,000 contract with Telegen Display Laboratories Inc. of Redwood, California, to develop luminescent materials for use in electronic displays.

P. Victor Kelsey, Telegen's manager for materials development, foresees a long relationship between the company and the university. "At Virginia Tech, we have found what we consider to be a center of excellence for luminescent research," Kelsey said.

Brown, founder and past director of the Technology Development Center for Advanced Ceramic Materials, will synthesize and process phosphors for a type of flat-panel display (FPD) designed at Telegen.

The most familiar FPD is the liquid-crystal display used in watches, calculators, and notebook computers. Another FPD, the high-gain emissive display (HGED), contains phosphors, which are luminescent materials that emit light when exposed to low-energy electrons. HGED's are thin and compact, and offer high writing speeds, good readability, low-voltage operation, and no catastrophic failure. They are used in instruments ranging from oscilloscopes to color-television screens and high-definition work stations.

Brown has conducted extensive research in the area of luminescent materials and holds several patents for phosphors. Kelsey believes that Brown's development of phosphors uniquely suited for use in HGED's "can be a very strong cornerstone" in Telegen's efforts to create display panels that will be easier to manufacture, less expensive, and smaller than current panels.

"This is not a drawing-board concept," Kelsey said. "This is the way that display devices are going to be manufactured for a long, long time."

Telegen Display Laboratories, located in Redwood City, California, is an offshoot of Telegen Corporation, which was founded in 1990 as a research-and-development firm for the telecommunications market.