US3767968A - Panel-type display device having display cells and auxiliary cells for operating them - Google Patents

Panel-type display device having display cells and auxiliary cells for operating them Download PDF

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US3767968A
US3767968A US3767968DA US3767968A US 3767968 A US3767968 A US 3767968A US 3767968D A US3767968D A US 3767968DA US 3767968 A US3767968 A US 3767968A
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cells
auxiliary
display
electrodes
column
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J Ogle
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Unisys Corp
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Burroughs Corp
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01JELECTRIC DISCHARGE TUBES OR DISCHARGE LAMPS
    • H01J17/00Gas-filled discharge tubes with solid cathode
    • H01J17/38Cold-cathode tubes
    • H01J17/48Cold-cathode tubes with more than one cathode or anode, e.g. sequence-discharge tube, counting tube, dekatron
    • H01J17/49Display panels, e.g. with crossed electrodes, e.g. making use of direct current

Abstract

A display device comprising a panel structure including a plurality of gas-filled display cells and including within the body of the panel, gas communication channels extending between adjacent cells to facilitate the flow of masses of excited particles and the transfer of glow from one cell to another. The display panel also includes a plurality of particle-supply gas cells which are adapted to fire without fail and provide excited particles for use in firing said display cells.

Description

United States Patent 1 Ogle [ PANEL-TYPE DISPLAY DEVICE HAVING DISPLAY CELLS AND AUXILIARY CELLS FOR OPERATING THEM [75] Inventor: James A. Ogle, Neshanic Station,

[73] Assignee: Burroughs Corporation, Detroit,

Mich.

[22] Filed: Oct. 6, 1971 211 Appl. No.: 186,915

Related U.S. Application Data [63] Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 881,024, Dec. 1,

1969, abandoned.

[52] U.S. Cl. 315/169 TV, 313/188, 313/198, 313/217, 313/220, 313/351 [51] Int. Cl l-l0lj 61/54, H05b 41/00 [58] Field of Search 313/188, 210, 217, 313/198, 220, 351; 315/169 R, 169 TV [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,644,925 211972 Kupsky ..315/169TV 3,402,313 9/1968 Gabor et a1 313/351 X 2,692,948 10/1954 Lion 313/201 X 2,933,648 5/1960 Bentley 315/169 TV 2,847,615 8/1958 Engelbart 315/169 R 3,096,516 7/1963 Pendleton et al. 315/169 TV FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 665,130 6/1963 Canada 315/169 Primary Examiner-Palmer C. Demeo Att0rneyl(enneth L. Miller [57] ABSTRACT A display device comprising a panel structure including a plurality of gas-filled display cells and including within the body of the panel, gas communication channels extending between adjacent cells to facilitate the flow of masses of excited particles and the transfer of glow from one cell to another. The display panel also includes a plurality of particle-supply gas cells which are adapted to fire without fail and provide excited particles for use in firing said display cells.

24 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS It is to be understood that the display panel described This application is a continuation-in-part of applicaherein may have substantially any desired size and tion Ser. No. 881,024, filed Dec. 1, I969, and now abandoned.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention concerns panel display devices of the type which include large numbers of gas-filled cells arrayed in rows and columns and energizable in groups to display a character or message. In general, such devices include at least two electrodes, an anode, and a cathode, for each cell, and a 18, driver circuit for each cathode and each anode for applying thereto the voltage needed to turn on each cell and generate visible glow therein.

Although panels can be operated satisfactorily in this way, it can be seen that, in a panel which includes thousands of cells, the provision of a separate driver for each cathode and each anode is prohibitively expensive and complex. In a copending application Ser. No. 850,984, filed Aug. 18, 1969, an improved display panel and driving arrangement are described and claimed which provide economies in driving circuitry. In this improved arrangement, selected cathodes have common drivers, and the display cells are scanned and fired column by column from left to right. This scanning operation is repeated cyclically, and various cellselecting operations can be performed during the scanning operation as desired.

In order to insure proper operation of the scanning cycle, a column of particle-supply cells are provided adjacent to the first column of display cells. When the scanning cycle reaches the right hand end of the panel, the column of supply cells is energized, and the scanning cycle is repeated. However, under some circumstances, the particle-supply cells do not fire, and the scanning operation cannot be carried out as required.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a display panel including a plurality of gas-filled displaycells and a group of particle-supply cells for facilitating the operation of the display cells. The particle-supply cells are specially operated and/or constructed to insure their proper firing and operation.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a display panel embodying the invention;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view along the lines 2-2 in FIG. 1 showing a portion of the panel;

FIG. 3 is a schematic representation of the panel of FIG. 1 and an electronic system in which it may be operated;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view along the lines 4-4 in FIG.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a modification of one of the electrodes of the apparatus of the invention;

FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of a modification of the electrode of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another modification of the electrode of FIG. 5; and

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of another modification of the electrode of FIG. 5.

shape, and it may include substantially any number of display cells. The panel may also include any suitable ionizable gas such as neon, argon, xenon, etc., singly or in combination. A metal vapor such as mercury is also usually included in the gas to minimize cathode sputtering. In addition, in the following description of the operation of the invention, reference is made to scanning from cell to cell or glow transfer from cell to cell. This is to be construed to mean either that glow in one cell is actually transferred from an ON cell to an OFF cell, and the OFF cell turns ON, or that glow in one cell produces excited particles and metastable atoms which diffuse from an ON cell to an adjacent OFF cell and can be used to facilitate the firing and turning ON of the adjacent cell.

A gas-filled display device 10 embodying the invention is in the form of a flat panel and comprises a sandwich of flat plates including a central plate 20 of glass or ceramic, a top viewing plate 30 of glass (omitted in FIG. 1), anda bottom plate of glass or ceramic. The central plate 20 is provided with rows and columns of holes or cells 50, and it has a top surface 60 and a bottom surface 70 (FIG. 2). The Cells are operated as information display cells and are filled with a gas of the type which can sustain cathode glow. The display cells 50 are preferably identical in size and shape.

The device 10 is provided with a top set of parallel electrodes 80 and a bottom set of parallel electrodes 100, with the sets being perpendicular to each other and arrayed so that each cell has two electrodes, one at the top of the cell and one at the bottom of the cell.

' Preferably, the two electrode portions associated with each display cell 50 are identical from cell to cell, both mechanically and electrically. A cell 50 is fired and caused to glow by the application of suitable potentials to the electrodes and which cross each other at the particular cell. In the following description, the upper electrodes are considered to be anodes, and the lower electrodes are considered to be cathodes, and, for purposes of this description, the device 10 is oriented so that the anodes are row electrodes and each is aligned with a row of cells, and the cathodes are column electrodes and each is aligned with a column of cells. Of course, the electrode functions could be reversed.

The electrodes 80 and 100 may be flat metal strips, or they may be wires, and they may be seated in slots or depressions, either in the central plate or in the top or bottom plates, if desired. In addition, the upper conductors80, if they are flat strips, are provided with holes (not shown) where they overlay cells 50 to permit a glowing or fired cell to be seen by a viewer looking through top plate 30 when the device 10 is in operation. However, the upper electrodes 80 are preferably wires which are narrower than the cells 50 to permit viewing of cell glow through top plate 30. The bottom electrodes 80, operated as cathodes, may conveniently be flat strips.

The central plate 20 and the top and bottom glass plates 30 and 40 are usually rectangular, with the top and bottom plates generally being made somewhat larger than the center plate to permit a sealing material 42 (FIG. 2), such as a glass frit, to be placed between them to seal all of the plates together arrangement, a gas-tight assembly. The row and column conductors 80 and 100 extend beyond the edges of the plates so that they can be readily connected to electrical circuitry.

It is known that a gas cell which has been fired and glows generates excited particles including gas ions, metastable atoms, and the like. The above-mentioned application utilizes this phenomenon to scan and fire cells, and, to this end, physical gas communication slots or channels 120 are provided in plate between display cells. In one arrangment, each cell in a column is connected by a channel or slot 120 to the corresponding cell in the adjacent column. Thus, each column of cells is connected by slots to the adjacent column of cells so that excited particles in any cell in a column can diffuse to the corresponding cell in the adjacent column. Preferably, the channels 120 are located close to the cathodes 100.

Display panel 10 also includes a column of auxiliary cells 52, known as starter cells or particle-supply cells, used not for display, but for providing excited particles for expediting the turn-on of the information display cells 50. In one arrangement, the column of particlesupply cells 52 is positioned to the left of the first column of display cells 50. Each cell 52 is connected to the corresponding adjacent cell 50 in the first column by a channel 120. The cells 52 have their own column cathode 128 connected to a suitable power source or driver 161, and they share the anode electrodes 80 with the display cells 50. The particle-supply cells 52 need not be, and are preferably not, seen by a viewer and may be obscured by the upper anode electrodes associated therewith.

The panel 10 also includes a keep-alive mechanism or a source of first electrons which, as is well known in the art, are required to initiate glow discharge in a gas cell. In panel 10, the keep-alive mechanism comprises a gas cell 123 positioned in operative relation with the supply cells 52 and having its own anode 124 and cathode 125. Such a cell 123 is constantly energized and glowing but is concealed from view. More than one cell 123 or a full column of such keep-alive cells may be provided adjacent to the column of supply cells. Only one cell 123 is shown, and this showing is only in FIG. 3 for convenience.

In a typical scanning mode of operation of panel 10 and as described in the above-mentioned copending application, the column of supply cells 52 is turned on, and then each column of display cells is turned on, in turn, beginning at the left hand end of the panel and proceeding to the right. The scanning of the panel and the turn-on of each new column of cells 50 is facilitated by the availability of excited particles in channels 120. Each cell in a column, as it is turned on, can have its current modulated in accordance with input signal information to vary the intensity of its glow. When the scanning operation reaches the righthand end of the panel, the cycle is repeated, beginning with starter cells 52, and the entire cycle can be repeated continuously at such a rate that a stationary but changeable message can be displayed by the panel.

In a typical circuit for carrying out this mode of operation, shown schematically in FIG. 3, the cathode elec- Each group of cathodes is connected to a driver circuit 150, and each anode electrode is connected to a driver circuit with suitable synchronizing circuits provided for achieving the desired series of operations. Of course, the driver circuits include all of the circuitry necessary to achieve the desired mode of operation. This mode of operation is described in detail in the above-mentioned application and need be described only briefly as above.

It can be seen that, in the above-described mode of operation of panel 10, it is important that the starter cells 52 always fire once during each scanning cycle and before the first column of display cells to insure proper scanning operation of the panel. According to the invention, in order to render the operation of starter cells 52 as foolproof as possible, they are constructed to have as low a firing voltage as possible. In one arrangement for achieving this characteristic, the electrodes of the starter cells are positioned as close together as feasible, and this close spacing is achieved most conveniently (FIGS. 4 and 5) by forming, on the surface of cathode 128, projecting arms or tabs which extend into each cell 52 toward the associated portion of the cell anode 80. The shape of each tab and its proximity to the anode are adjusted to provide the desired firing potential for the cells 52 and favorable current density for priming and aiding the firing of the adjacent cells 50.

The tabs 180 may be positioned generally along the center line of the cathode 128 or along the left-hand edge remote from cells 50, as shown in FIG. 5. In addition, the effect of the tabs 180 may be achieved by corrugating the cathode to provide projecting portions 200 as shown in FIG. 6. The tabs might also have any suitable shape, for example, they may be rectangular as in FIG. 5, or triangular as in FIG. 7. In addition, the cathode body to which the projections are attached may be of uniform width as shown in FIGS. 5 and 7, or it may be narrowed at the tabs as in FIG. 8. This construction provides optimum current density on the cathode body where it is available for the adjacent cells 50.

Of course, the desired spacing from anode-tocathode may be achieved by providing projections on the anodes in cells 52.

Alternatively, either with the just-described cathode construction or with cathodes identical to those of the display cells 50, that is without tabs 180, circuit means may be employed to insure firing of the auxiliary cells 52 at the beginning of a scanning cycle for the display cells 50. Such means may include a pulse source 161 (FIG. 3) which is coupled between the anodes and cathodes of cells 52 and is adapted to apply a potential of sufficient amplitude and time duration to insure that these cells fire and turn on at the beginning of each scanning cycle of operation of the panel. The signal provided by source 161 would ordinarily be considerably larger and, if necessary, of longer duration, than the signals used to fire the display cells 50.

The panel 10 described herein can also be employed in a multilayer type of display panel such as that described and claimed in copending application Ser. No. 850,984, filed Aug. 18, 1969.

What is claimed is:

1. A display panel including an envelope filled with a gas for supporting cathode glow and having a viewing window for viewing cathode glow,

a plurality of discrete gas-filled display cells arrayed in rows and columns, said cells having substantially identical mechanical and electrical characteristics, there being first, last, and intermediate columns of said display cells,

at least two electrodes associated with each of said display cells,

gas communication paths providing communication between each display cell and the adjacent display cell in its row,

means coupled to the electrodes of said display cells for turning on said columns of display cells cyclically and in turn beginning with the first column and proceeding to the last,

a plurality of discrete auxiliary cells, each aligned with and communicating through a gas communication path with one of said display cells and accordingly with a row of display cells, said auxiliary cells being arrayed in a column in communication with but preceding said first column of display cells,

said auxiliary cells being mechanically substantially identical to said display cells but having different operating characteristics whereby said auxiliary cells can be fired more readily than said display cells to provide excited particles to facilitate the turn-on of said first column of display cells when operating potentials are applied to its electrodes, and

at least two electrodes associated with each of said auxiliary cells, said two electrodes being substantially identical in size and shape to the corresponding electrodesassociated with said ,display cells.

2. The panel defined in claim 1 wherein the electrode-to-electrode spacing in said auxiliary cells is smaller than in said display cells.

3. The panel defined in claim 2 wherein said smaller electrode-to-electrode spacing is achieved by means of tabs extending from one electrode toward the other electrode in each auxiliary cell.

4. The panel defined in claim2 wherein each of said two electrodes in said auxiliary cells comprises an anode and a cathode, and said smaller electrode-to electrode spacing is achieved bymeans of tabs extending from a cathode to the associated anode in each auxiliary cell.

5. The panel defined in claim 4 wherein the cathodes associated with said auxiliary cells comprise a common electrode strip extending along and aligned with each auxiliary cell and having a tab entering each auxiliary cell.

6. The panel defined in Claim 3 wherein said smaller electrode-to-electrode spacing is achieved by means of tabs extending from the anode in an auxiliary cell to the associated cathode.

7. The panel defined in claim 3 wherein said tabs are generally rectangular shaped.

8. The panel defined in claim 3 wherein said tabs are generally sharply pointed.

- 9. A display panel including an insulating plate having a plurality of display cells arrayed in rows and columns and filled with an ionizable gas, said plate having a top surface and a bottom surface, said columns of cells communicating with each other through channels in said plate,

an array of first electrodes adjacent to said bottom surface and each aligned with a column of cells,

an array of second electrodes adjacent to said top surface of said plate and each aligned with a row of cells,

said gas-filled display cells having substantially identical electrical characteristics, substantially identical anodes and cathodes, and substantially the same characteristic firing potential, and

a plurality of auxiliary gas-filled cells communicating through channels in said plate with selected ones of said display cells and having their own anodes and cathodes and having different electrical characteristics whereby said auxiliary cells turn on more readily than said display cells.

10. The panel defined in claim 9 wherein said columns of display cells include a first column, a last column, and intermediate columns, and said auxiliary cells are provided as a column disposed adjacent to said first column of display cells and adapted to turn on and fire after the last column of display cells has fired in a scanning cycle in which each column of display cells fires in turn beginning with the first and ending with the last.

11. A display panel including an insulating plate having a plurality of display cells arrayed in rows and columns and filled with an ionizable gas, said plate having a top surface and a bottom surface, said plate having gas communication channels extending from column to column of said cells,

an array of first electrodes adjacent to said bottom surface and each aligned with a column of cells, said first electrodes lying in substantially a common first plane, an array of second electrodes adjacent to said top surface of said plate and each aligned with a row of cells, said second electrodes lying in substantially a common second plane,

said gas-filled display cells having substantially identical mechanical and electrical characteristics, substantially identical first electrodes and second electrodes, and substantially identical electrode spacing and substantially the same characteristic firing potential, and

a plurality of auxiliary gas-filled cells communicating throughchannels in said plate with selected ones of said display cells and being mechanically'similar thereto, and having auxiliary first electrodes which lie in said first plane and auxiliary second electrodes which lie in' said second plane, said auxiliary first and second electrodes including means which cause them to have a closer spacing than the first and second electrodes of said display cells whereby said auxiliary cells have a lower firing voltage than said display cells.

12. The panel defined in claim 11 wherein the cathodes associated with said auxiliary cells are constituted by a metallic strip adjacent to said bottom surface of said plate and aligned with said auxiliary cells.

13. The panel defined in claim 12 wherein the portion of said metallic strip aligned with each auxiliary cell is narrowed to increase the current density thereon when an auxiliary cell is fired.

14. A display system comprising a display panel and drive circuits therefor,

said display panel including,

a plurality of discrete gas-filled display cells arrayed in rows and columns, said cells having substantially identical mechanical and electrical characteristics,

at least two electrodes associated with each of said display cells,

gas communication paths providing communication between each cell and the adjacent cell in its row,

a plurality of discrete auxiliary cells, each aligned with and communicating through gas communication paths with one of said display cells and accordingly with the row of display cells associated therewith,

said auxiliary cells being mechanically substantially identical to said display cells but having different operating characteristics whereby said auxiliary cells can be fired more readily than said display cells, and

at least two electrodes associated with each of said auxiliary cells,

said drive circuits including circuit means coupled to the electrodes of said display cells for applying operating potential thereto to cause each column of cells to fire in turn, and

circuit means for generating pulses coupled to the electrodes of said auxiliary cells for applying firing pulses thereto to turn said auxiliary cells on whereby the subsequent turn on of the adjacent display cells is facilitated by the diffusion of excited particles from said auxiliary cells through said gas communication paths to said adjacent display cells.

15. A display system comprising a display panel and drive circuits therefor,

said display panel including,

a plurality of discrete gas-filled display cells arrayed in rows and columns, said cells having substantially identical mechanical and electrical characteristics,

at least two electrodes associated with each of said display cells,

gas communication paths providing communication between each cell and the adjacent cell in its row,

a plurality of discrete auxiliary cells, each aligned with and communicating through gas communi cation paths with one of said display cells and accordingly with the row of display cells associated therewith, and

at least two electrodes associated with each of said auxiliary cells,

said drive circuits including first circuit means coupled to the electrodes of said display cells for applying operating potential thereto to cause each column of cells to fire in turn, and

second circuit means for generating pulses coupled to the electrodes of said auxiliary cells for applying firing pulses thereto to turn said auxiliary cells on whereby the subsequent turn on of the adjacent display cells is facilitated by the diffusion of excited particles from said auxiliary cells through said gas communication paths to said adjacent display cells.

16. The system defined in claim wherein said display cells include a first column, a last column, and intermediate columns, and said auxiliary cells are provided as a column adjacent to said first column of display cells, said second circuit means being adapted to turn on said column of auxiliary cells after said last column of display cells has fired in a scanning cycle of said display cells.

17. The system defined in claim 15 wherein said pulses generated by said second circuit means are generally of greater amplitude and time duration than said operating potential applied by said first circuit means to the electrodes of said display cells whereby firing and turn-on of said auxiliary cells is insured at the beginning of a scanning cycle of said display cells.

18. The panel defined in claim 1 wherein all of the corresponding electrodes of said panel lie in substantially the same plane.

19. The panel defined in claim 1 wherein one of the electrodes associated with each display cell and auxiliary cell is a cathode and the other electrode associated with each display cell and auxiliary cell is an anode, said cathodes all lying in substantially the same plane, said anodes all lying in substantially the same plane.

20. A display panel including an envelope filled with an ionizable gas capable of sustaining cathode glow,

an insulating plate in said envelope including a plurality of discrete gas-filled cells arrayed in rows and columns, said cells having substantially identical mechanical characteristics, said plate including gas communication slots extending between the columns of cells, with each cell in a column being in gas communication with the corresponding cell in the adjacent column, there being a first column of cells, a last column of cells, and an intermediate column of cells,

said plate having a top surface and a bottom surface,

a plurality of first identical, elongated electrodes disposed adjacent to said top surface of said plate and all lying in a common plane, each being aligned with and in operative relation with a row of said cells,

a plurality of second identical, elongated electrodes disposed adjacent to said bottom surface ofsaid plate and all lying in a common plane, each second electrode being aligned with and in operative relation with a column of said cells,

the second electrode associated with said first column of cells having projections which extend toward the portions of said first electrodes which lie above it whereby the firing potential required to ionize said first column of cells is reduced,

said first electrodes and said second electrodes including means for turning on each column of cells in turn cyclically beginning with the first and proceeding therefrom to the last, said projections on said second electrode associated with said first column of cells and insuring the firing of said first column of cells and thus insuring the firing of each of said cells cyclically and in turn.

21. The display panel defined in claim 20 wherein said first electrodes are substantially identical in size and shape and said second electrodes are substantially identical in size and shape except for said projections.

22. The panel defined in claim 21 wherein said first electrodes are small-diameter wires and said second electrodes are relatively wide metal strips.

23. The panel defined in claim 20 wherein said second electrodes are connected in groups to individual drive means for applying operating potential thereto,

with the electrodes of each group being separated by at least one electrode of another group, whereby when operating potential is applied to one member of a group, it is applied to all members of its group,

said second electrode associated with said first columns of cells being separately connected to a drive source of operating potential of its own whereby, when operating potential is applied thereto, it is not applied to any other second electrode.

24. A display panel and system therefor including an envelope filled with a gas for supporting cathode glow, said envelope having a viewing window for viewing cathode glow,

a plurality of first discrete gas-filled cells arrayed in rows and columns and having upper ends and lower ends, said cells having substantially identical mechanical and electrical characteristics, there being first, last, and intermediate columns of said first cells, said cells being adapted to be scanned column by column from the first to the last,

an anode electrode adjacent to the upper ends of said first cells and aligned with each row of said first cells,

a cathode electrode adjacent to the lower ends of said first cells and aligned with each column of said first cells,

gas communication paths between each first cell and the adjacent first cell in its row whereby excited particles can diffuse from an ON cell to an adjacent OFF cell,

said cathode electrodes being connected in groups with each cathode of one group being separated by cathodes of the other groups,

a separate drive circuit means for applying operating potential connected to each said group of cathode electrodes, said drive circuit means being adapted to apply operating potential to each of said cathode electrodes in turn, in conjunction with operating potential applied to said anode electrodes, to cause each column of first cells to be fired in turn from first to last,

a column of auxiliary cells adjacent to said first column of first cells, each auxiliary cell being aligned with and communicating through a gas communication path, with the corresponding first cell in the adjacent first column of first cells,

said auxiliary cells being mechanically substantially identical to said first cells,

said auxiliary cells having upper ends which are substantially coplanar with the upper ends of said first cells and lower ends which are substantially coplanar with the lower ends of said first cells,

said anode electrodes being each in operative relation with one of said auxiliary cells and lying adjacent to the upper end thereof,

an auxiliary cathode electrode positioned adjacent to the lower ends of said auxiliary cells and aligned with the column of auxiliary cells,

said anode electrodes lying in substantially one plane and all of said cathode electrodes lying in substantially one plane,

said auxiliary cathode electrode including projections into each auxiliary cell which project toward and decrease the spacing between said auxiliary cathode and the associated anode electrodes positioned at the upper ends of said auxiliary cells whereby a favorably low firing potential can fire said auxiliary cells, and

separate circuit means coupled to said auxiliary cathode electrode for applying operating potential thereto in conjunction with operating potential applied to said anodes for firing said auxiliary cells and for providing excited particles for turning on said first column of said first cells at the beginning of a scanning cycle.

UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent 3,767.968 Dated October 23. 1973 Inventor(s) James A. Ogle It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Col. 3, line 2, delete "arrangement," and insert --in--; col. 6, line 11, after "having" insert --substantially the same mechanical characteristics as said display cells but having-; col. 6, line 12, after "istics" insert --from said display cel1s--.

Signed and sealed this 16th day of April 197M.

(SEAL) Attest:

EDWARD M.FLETCHER,JR. V C MARSHALL DANN Attesting Officer Commissioner'- of Patents I FORM PO-IOSO (10-69) USCOMM-DC 60576-5 69 i U. 5. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE ll. O-Jil-SJI,

Claims (24)

1. A display panel including an envelope filled with a gas for supporting cathode glow and having a viewing window for viewing cathode glow, a plurality of discrete gas-filled display cells arrayed in rows and columns, said cells having substantially identical mechanical and electrical characteristics, there being first, last, and intermediate columns of said display cells, at least two electrodes associated with each of said display cells, gas communication paths providing communication between each display cell and the adjacent display cell in its row, means coupled to the electrodes of said display cells for turning on said columns of display cells cyclically and in turn beginning with the first column and proceeding to the last, a plurality of discrete auxiliary cells, each aligned with and communicating through a gas communication path with one of said display cells and accordingly with a row of display cells, said auxiliary cells being arrayed in a column in communication with but preceding said first column of display cells, said auxiliary cells being mechanically substantially identical to said display cells but having different operating characteristics whereby said auxiliary cells can be fired more readily than said display cells to provide excited particles to facilitate the turn-on of said first column of display cells when operating potentials are applied to its electrodes, and at least two electrodes associated with each of said auxiliary cells, said two electrodes being substantially identiCal in size and shape to the corresponding electrodes associated with said display cells.
2. The panel defined in claim 1 wherein the electrode-to-electrode spacing in said auxiliary cells is smaller than in said display cells.
3. The panel defined in claim 2 wherein said smaller electrode-to-electrode spacing is achieved by means of tabs extending from one electrode toward the other electrode in each auxiliary cell.
4. The panel defined in claim 2 wherein each of said two electrodes in said auxiliary cells comprises an anode and a cathode, and said smaller electrode-to-electrode spacing is achieved by means of tabs extending from a cathode to the associated anode in each auxiliary cell.
5. The panel defined in claim 4 wherein the cathodes associated with said auxiliary cells comprise a common electrode strip extending along and aligned with each auxiliary cell and having a tab entering each auxiliary cell.
6. The panel defined in claim 3 wherein said smaller electrode-to-electrode spacing is achieved by means of tabs extending from the anode in an auxiliary cell to the associated cathode.
7. The panel defined in claim 3 wherein said tabs are generally rectangular shaped.
8. The panel defined in claim 3 wherein said tabs are generally sharply pointed.
9. A display panel including an insulating plate having a plurality of display cells arrayed in rows and columns and filled with an ionizable gas, said plate having a top surface and a bottom surface, said columns of cells communicating with each other through channels in said plate, an array of first electrodes adjacent to said bottom surface and each aligned with a column of cells, an array of second electrodes adjacent to said top surface of said plate and each aligned with a row of cells, said gas-filled display cells having substantially identical electrical characteristics, substantially identical anodes and cathodes, and substantially the same characteristic firing potential, and a plurality of auxiliary gas-filled cells communicating through channels in said plate with selected ones of said display cells and having their own anodes and cathodes and having substantially the same mechanical characteristics as said display cells but having different electrical characteristics from said display cells whereby said auxiliary cells turn on more readily than said display cells.
10. The panel defined in claim 9 wherein said columns of display cells include a first column, a last column, and intermediate columns, and said auxiliary cells are provided as a column disposed adjacent to said first column of display cells and adapted to turn on and fire after the last column of display cells has fired in a scanning cycle in which each column of display cells fires in turn beginning with the first and ending with the last.
11. A display panel including an insulating plate having a plurality of display cells arrayed in rows and columns and filled with an ionizable gas, said plate having a top surface and a bottom surface, said plate having gas communication channels extending from column to column of said cells, an array of first electrodes adjacent to said bottom surface and each aligned with a column of cells, said first electrodes lying in substantially a common first plane, an array of second electrodes adjacent to said top surface of said plate and each aligned with a row of cells, said second electrodes lying in substantially a common second plane, said gas-filled display cells having substantially identical mechanical and electrical characteristics, substantially identical first electrodes and second electrodes, and substantially identical electrode spacing and substantially the same characteristic firing potential, and a plurality of auxiliary gas-filled cells communicating through channels in said plate with selected ones of said display cells and being mechanically similar thereto, and having auxiliary first electrodes which lie in said fiRst plane and auxiliary second electrodes which lie in said second plane, said auxiliary first and second electrodes including means which cause them to have a closer spacing than the first and second electrodes of said display cells whereby said auxiliary cells have a lower firing voltage than said display cells.
12. The panel defined in claim 11 wherein the cathodes associated with said auxiliary cells are constituted by a metallic strip adjacent to said bottom surface of said plate and aligned with said auxiliary cells.
13. The panel defined in claim 12 wherein the portion of said metallic strip aligned with each auxiliary cell is narrowed to increase the current density thereon when an auxiliary cell is fired.
14. A display system comprising a display panel and drive circuits therefor, said display panel including, a plurality of discrete gas-filled display cells arrayed in rows and columns, said cells having substantially identical mechanical and electrical characteristics, at least two electrodes associated with each of said display cells, gas communication paths providing communication between each cell and the adjacent cell in its row, a plurality of discrete auxiliary cells, each aligned with and communicating through gas communication paths with one of said display cells and accordingly with the row of display cells associated therewith, said auxiliary cells being mechanically substantially identical to said display cells but having different operating characteristics whereby said auxiliary cells can be fired more readily than said display cells, and at least two electrodes associated with each of said auxiliary cells, said drive circuits including circuit means coupled to the electrodes of said display cells for applying operating potential thereto to cause each column of cells to fire in turn, and circuit means for generating pulses coupled to the electrodes of said auxiliary cells for applying firing pulses thereto to turn said auxiliary cells on whereby the subsequent turn on of the adjacent display cells is facilitated by the diffusion of excited particles from said auxiliary cells through said gas communication paths to said adjacent display cells.
15. A display system comprising a display panel and drive circuits therefor, said display panel including, a plurality of discrete gas-filled display cells arrayed in rows and columns, said cells having substantially identical mechanical and electrical characteristics, at least two electrodes associated with each of said display cells, gas communication paths providing communication between each cell and the adjacent cell in its row, a plurality of discrete auxiliary cells, each aligned with and communicating through gas communication paths with one of said display cells and accordingly with the row of display cells associated therewith, and at least two electrodes associated with each of said auxiliary cells, said drive circuits including first circuit means coupled to the electrodes of said display cells for applying operating potential thereto to cause each column of cells to fire in turn, and second circuit means for generating pulses coupled to the electrodes of said auxiliary cells for applying firing pulses thereto to turn said auxiliary cells on whereby the subsequent turn on of the adjacent display cells is facilitated by the diffusion of excited particles from said auxiliary cells through said gas communication paths to said adjacent display cells.
16. The system defined in claim 15 wherein said display cells include a first column, a last column, and intermediate columns, and said auxiliary cells are provided as a column adjacent to said first column of display cells, said second circuit means being adapted to turn on said column of auxiliary cells after said last column of display cells has fired in a scanning cycle of said display cells.
17. The system defined in claim 15 wherein said pulses generated by said second circuit means are generally of greater amplitude and time duration than said operating potential applied by said first circuit means to the electrodes of said display cells whereby firing and turn-on of said auxiliary cells is insured at the beginning of a scanning cycle of said display cells.
18. The panel defined in claim 1 wherein all of the corresponding electrodes of said panel lie in substantially the same plane.
19. The panel defined in claim 1 wherein one of the electrodes associated with each display cell and auxiliary cell is a cathode and the other electrode associated with each display cell and auxiliary cell is an anode, said cathodes all lying in substantially the same plane, said anodes all lying in substantially the same plane.
20. A display panel including an envelope filled with an ionizable gas capable of sustaining cathode glow, an insulating plate in said envelope including a plurality of discrete gas-filled cells arrayed in rows and columns, said cells having substantially identical mechanical characteristics, said plate including gas communication slots extending between the columns of cells, with each cell in a column being in gas communication with the corresponding cell in the adjacent column, there being a first column of cells, a last column of cells, and an intermediate column of cells, said plate having a top surface and a bottom surface, a plurality of first identical, elongated electrodes disposed adjacent to said top surface of said plate and all lying in a common plane, each being aligned with and in operative relation with a row of said cells, a plurality of second identical, elongated electrodes disposed adjacent to said bottom surface of said plate and all lying in a common plane, each second electrode being aligned with and in operative relation with a column of said cells, the second electrode associated with said first column of cells having projections which extend toward the portions of said first electrodes which lie above it whereby the firing potential required to ionize said first column of cells is reduced, said first electrodes and said second electrodes including means for turning on each column of cells in turn cyclically beginning with the first and proceeding therefrom to the last, said projections on said second electrode associated with said first column of cells and insuring the firing of said first column of cells and thus insuring the firing of each of said cells cyclically and in turn.
21. The display panel defined in claim 20 wherein said first electrodes are substantially identical in size and shape and said second electrodes are substantially identical in size and shape except for said projections.
22. The panel defined in claim 21 wherein said first electrodes are small-diameter wires and said second electrodes are relatively wide metal strips.
23. The panel defined in claim 20 wherein said second electrodes are connected in groups to individual drive means for applying operating potential thereto, with the electrodes of each group being separated by at least one electrode of another group, whereby when operating potential is applied to one member of a group, it is applied to all members of its group, said second electrode associated with said first columns of cells being separately connected to a drive source of operating potential of its own whereby, when operating potential is applied thereto, it is not applied to any other second electrode.
24. A display panel and system therefor including an envelope filled with a gas for supporting cathode glow, said envelope having a viewing window for viewing cathode glow, a plurality of first discrete gas-filled cells arrayed in rows and columns and having upper ends and lower ends, said cells having substantially identical mechanical and electrical characteristics, there being first, last, and intermediate columns of said first Cells, said cells being adapted to be scanned column by column from the first to the last, an anode electrode adjacent to the upper ends of said first cells and aligned with each row of said first cells, a cathode electrode adjacent to the lower ends of said first cells and aligned with each column of said first cells, gas communication paths between each first cell and the adjacent first cell in its row whereby excited particles can diffuse from an ON cell to an adjacent OFF cell, said cathode electrodes being connected in groups with each cathode of one group being separated by cathodes of the other groups, a separate drive circuit means for applying operating potential connected to each said group of cathode electrodes, said drive circuit means being adapted to apply operating potential to each of said cathode electrodes in turn, in conjunction with operating potential applied to said anode electrodes, to cause each column of first cells to be fired in turn from first to last, a column of auxiliary cells adjacent to said first column of first cells, each auxiliary cell being aligned with and communicating through a gas communication path, with the corresponding first cell in the adjacent first column of first cells, said auxiliary cells being mechanically substantially identical to said first cells, said auxiliary cells having upper ends which are substantially coplanar with the upper ends of said first cells and lower ends which are substantially coplanar with the lower ends of said first cells, said anode electrodes being each in operative relation with one of said auxiliary cells and lying adjacent to the upper end thereof, an auxiliary cathode electrode positioned adjacent to the lower ends of said auxiliary cells and aligned with the column of auxiliary cells, said anode electrodes lying in substantially one plane and all of said cathode electrodes lying in substantially one plane, said auxiliary cathode electrode including projections into each auxiliary cell which project toward and decrease the spacing between said auxiliary cathode and the associated anode electrodes positioned at the upper ends of said auxiliary cells whereby a favorably low firing potential can fire said auxiliary cells, and separate circuit means coupled to said auxiliary cathode electrode for applying operating potential thereto in conjunction with operating potential applied to said anodes for firing said auxiliary cells and for providing excited particles for turning on said first column of said first cells at the beginning of a scanning cycle.
US3767968A 1971-10-06 1971-10-06 Panel-type display device having display cells and auxiliary cells for operating them Expired - Lifetime US3767968A (en)

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US4142123A (en) * 1977-02-10 1979-02-27 Rca Corporation Image display device with optical feedback to cathode
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US4020381A (en) * 1974-12-09 1977-04-26 Texas Instruments Incorporated Cathode structure for a multibeam cathode ray tube
US3942060A (en) * 1975-01-17 1976-03-02 Burroughs Corporation Gaseous discharge type display panel for displaying large number of characters
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