Plasma Display

What Does Plasma Display Mean?

A plasma display is a type of flat panel display that uses plasma, an electrically charged ionized gas, to illuminate each pixel in order to produce a display output. It is commonly used in large TV displays of 30 inches and higher. Plasma displays are often brighter than LCD displays and also have a wider color gamut, with black levels almost equaling “dark room” levels.


Plasma displays are also known as gas-plasma displays.

Techopedia Explains Plasma Display

Plasma displays make use of ionized gases to create luminance, as opposed to LCD technology, which uses backlighting such as fluorescent and LED. A plasma display panel consists of millions of tiny compartments sandwiched between two panels of glass. Each compartment or cell is arranged in groups of three, which are coated in phosphors colored red, green and blue. Electrodes criss-cross along the cells’ front and back, and when a cell needs to be activated, the electrodes are charged; the voltage difference between the front and the back ionizes the gas in the cell, resulting in a loss of electrons and creating an electrically conducting plasma of atoms, ions and free electrons. The collisions that happen because of all the free floating particles lead to light emission, with the color being dictated by the phosphor coating the cell. Apart from how light and color are generated, the process of combining pixels and forming an image is similar to that of other display technologies.

Because of the charge needed to ionize the gas in the panel, plasma displays run hotter and consume more power than LCD and AMOLED panels. And although they are capable of faster switching and better response times, plasma displays are not good with prolonging the display of a static image, as this causes “burn-in”, a phenomenon wherein the image sticks to the display even after several refreshes. This effect has largely been minimized in modern displays, but remains the biggest drawback when compared to advanced LCD technologies, which already compete with plasma display’s black levels, color gamut and brightness.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…