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Sony ends joint FED research project

Sony and Candescent Technologies, a California-based flat-panel display developer, have ended three years of joint research on Field Emission Displays (FEDs) and decided not to renew the project.

"We have just ended the joint development and there are no plans for a consumer product," said Aki Shimazu, a Sony spokeswoman.

The two companies first started working together in late 1998 and decided to extend the project until the end of 2001. Sony also took a stake of undisclosed size in Candescent and paid the company advance licensing fees for the technology. Sony is continuing to work on development of FED panels and has rights to the fruits of the project with Candescent, said Shimazu.

FED panels have electrical discharge arrays which activate a single pixel by focusing a beam of electrons on the pixel, in the same way a cathode ray tube (CRT) works. An FED is capable of achieving a picture of similar brightness, viewing angle and response time as a conventional CRT although it is much thinner. Sony was developing the technology for use in flat-panel television sets and monitors.

Before it embarked on research of FED technology, Sony was one of a handful of companies developing plasma addressed liquid crystal (PALC) technology.

The company obtained a licence to work on PALC technology from the original developer, Tektronix, and began a joint development project in July 1997 with Sharp and Philips.

Joint development work on PALC ended in March 2000 and shortly afterwards, Sony took a 15% stake in a joint venture formed by Fujitsu and Hitachi to commercially produce PDP screens. Despite the end of the joint work on PALC, Sony continued internal development until late 2001.

Sony is also continuing to develop organic electroluminescence displays (OELDs). The company sees OELDs, which are capable of producing bright, fast moving images with low power consumption, as an eventual successor to LCD technology in many applications.

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