US 3517245 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 23, 1970 H. F. DICKSON, JR., ET AL PLANAR MULTIPLE CHARACTER ELECTROLUMINESCENT DISPLAY DEVICE Origiml Filed May'lO, 1966 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 III I I MW Y mSBN E KN Q N VWET R mom m 60 T A June 213, 1970 H. F. DKZKSON, JR., ET AL 3,517,245
PLANAR MULTIPLE CHARACTER ELECTROLUMINESCENT DISPLAY DEVICE Original Filed may 10, 1966 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 'INVENTORS HERBERT F. DICKSON JR.
lRVlNG D. GREENBERG 8: BY ELMER O. STONE.
ATTORNEY June 23, 1970 H. F. DICKSON, JR., ET AL 3,517,245
PLANAR MULTIPLE CHARACTER ELECTROLUMTNESCENT DISPLAY DEVICE Original Filed May 10, 1966 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 FORM BACKING PLATE I APPLY FIRST ELECTRODES TO BACKING PLATE OVERLAY FIRST ELECTRODES WITH PHOSPHOR-DIELECTRlC LAYER l APPLY ELECTRICALLY CONDUCTIVE TRANSPARENT LAYER To THE PHOSPHOR DIELECTRIC LAYER APPLY TRANSPARENT AIR- IMPERMEABLE LAYER TO THE CONDUCTIVE LAYER I HERMETICALLY SEAL THE.
PERI PHERY OF THE BACKNG PLATE AND AIRIMPERMEABLE LAYER INVENTORS HERBERT E DICKSON, JR IRVING D.GREENBERG & BY EL'MER o. STONE ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,517,245 PLANAR MULTIPLE CHARACTER ELECTRO- LUMINESCENT DISPLAY DEVICE Herbert F. Dickson, .lr., and Irving D. Greenberg, Seneca Falls, N.Y., and Elmer 0. Stone, Waban, Mass, assignors to Sylvania Electric Products Inc., a corporation of Delaware Original application May 10, 1966, Ser. No. 558,188.
Divided and this application Apr. 2, 1968, Ser.
Int. Cl. H013 7/42; H01k N60 US. Cl. 313109.5 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention relates to planar multiple character display devices and a process for fabricating such devices.
This application is a division of US. application Ser. No. 558,188 filed May 10, 1966.
Known types of multiple character display devices, particularly electroluminescent devices, include a transparent substrate, a transparent electrically conductive layer forming a first electrode affixed thereto, a phosphordielectric layer overlaying the first electrode, a plurality of electrically conductive display configurations overlaying the phosphor-dielectric layer and forming multiple second electrodes, and a backplate formed to provide electrical connections to the first and second electrodes. Normally, the backplate is of an electrical insulating material having a plurality of electrical conductors discretely located and staked therein. The electrical conductors are usually in the form of metal pins passing through the insulating material and having electrically conductive rubber end portions which are aligned with and electrically connected by pressurized contact to individual ones of the first and second electrodes. Also, the periphery of the substrate and backplate are sealed with wax or epoxy to provide a unitary substantially hermetically sealed planar display device.
In the process of fabricating the above devices, one practice is to apply the transparent conductive layer or first electrode to a glass substrate, deposit a continuous phosphor-dielectric layer onto the conductive layer, and overlay the phosphor-dielectric layer with electrically conductive display configurations of multiple second electrodes. A separate backing plate is formed by staking metal pins into an insulating board at discrete locations with an electrically conductive rubber end portions affixed to each of the conductors.
Thereafter, the substrate having the first electrode, phosphor-dielectric layer and multiple second electrode thereon and the backing plate are aligned and forced together by pressure exerted thereon. In this manner, the rubber end portion of an electrical conductor is electrically connected to each of the second electrodes and the rubber end portion of certain selected conductors contacts the first electrode. Moreover, the peripheral surface of the substrate and the backing plate are hermetically sealed to provide a unitary structure.
While planar multiple character display devices of the electroluminescent type and the above fabrication process have notably advanced the art, it has been found that such devices and processes leave much to be desired in commercial production as well as in numerous applications of such devices. For example, it has been found that one of the more serious deficiencies of such structures and processes is the difficulty, if not impossibility, of achieving and maintaining alignment and electrical contact between the electrically conductive rubber end portions of the conductors and the electrodes afiixed to the substrate. Such undersirable factors as warping of the backplate, warping of the substrate, and differences in linear expansion between the backplate and the substrate are all deleterious to the achievement and maintenance of the desired electrical contact between the conductors and the electrodes. Moreover, such alignment and electrical contact problems are magnified as the size and width of the display configurations are reduced and the complexity of the configurations increased.
Also, differences in linear expansion COEfi'lClCHiS between the backing plate and the substrate cause difliculties in attempts to maintain a hermetic peripheral seal while the hermeticity of staked electrical conductors leaves much to be desired. Moreover, the cost and electrical contact reliability of the electrically conductive rubber end portions of the conductors as well as the space requirements thereof are areas where improvement requirements are readily recognized.
Therefore, it is an object of this invention to provide an enhanced planar multiple character display device of the electroluminescent type.
Another object of the invention is to provide an imroved process for fabricating planar multiple character display devices of the electroluminescent type.
Still another object of the invention is to provide an improved planar multiple character display device and fabrication process by enhancing the fabrication of a backplate suitable for use in such devices.
A further object of the invention is to provide an improved electroluminescent device of the planar multiple character display type and an enhanced process for fabricating such devices.
These and other objects are achieved in one aspect of the invention by a process wherein a backing plate is disposed within a mold, an apertured jig is disposed thereon, a plurality of electrical conductors are inserted within the apertures of the jig, a force is exerted on the conductors, heat is applied to cause the conductors to pass through the plate, the plate is then cooled to cause hermetic sealing of the conductors and the plate, and subsequently one surface of the plate is ground to expose the ends of the conductors flush with the planar surface of the plate.
In another aspect of the invention, a planar multiple character display device of the electroluminescent type is fabricated by a process wherein a plurality of electrically conductive display configurations or first electrodes are deposited onto the above described backing plate, a phosphor-dielectric layer is deposited thereover, a continuous transparent electrically conductive layer or second electrode is deposited onto the phosphor-dielectric layer, an air-impermeable transparent layer is aifixed to the phosphor-dielectric layer and a hermetic sealing layer is applied to the periphery of the backing plate and the transparent layer to provide a unitary hermetically sealed planar multiple character electroluminescent display device.
For a better understanding of the present invention, together with other and further objects, advantages and capabilities thereof, reference is made to the following disclosure and appended claims in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an article fabricated in accordance with one aspect of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a sectional elevational view of one step in a process for manufacturing the article of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a sectional elevational view of a further step in a process for manufacturing the article of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is an illustration of a further step in a process for manufacturing the article of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view, partially in section, of another embodiment of the invention; and
FIG. 6 is a diagram, in block form, illustrating a process for fabricating the embodiment of FIG. 5.
Referring to the drawings, FIG. 1 is illustrative of a backing plate 7 preferably in the form of a glass plate 9 having a substantially smooth surface 11 although electrical insulating materials such as ceramic and plastic plate materials are also applicable and appropriate. A plurality of discretely located electrical conductors 13 in the form of metal pins pass through and are hermetically sealed to the glass plate 9. Also, each of the conductors 13 has a substantially flat end portion 15 and all of the end portions 15 are substantially flush with the smooth surface 11 of the glass plate 9.
As to a process for fabricating the backing plate 7, FIG. 2 illustrates a substantially U-shaped mold 17 of a material such as graphite which was selected because of the tendency thereof to resist adherence to glass surfaces. Also, a graphite was chosen having coefiicient of linear expansion somewhat similar to the linear expansion coefficient of the glass utilized.
The U-shaped mold 17 has an inner bottom surface 19 wherein is located a plurality of rounded indentations 21 and the glass plate 9 is deposited onto and supported by the bottom surface 19 bridging the indentations 21. A jig 23 of graphite material is disposed on and supported by the glass plate 9. The jig 23 has a plurality of discretely located apertures 25 which are formed to align with the indentations 21.
An electrical conductor 13 in the form of a metal pin is inserted into each of the apertures 25.
A rounded end portion 14 of each of the conductors 13 contacts the glass plate 9 which serves to support the conductors 13 within the apertures 25 of the jig 23. A force in the form of a weight 27 is applied to the opposite rounded end 16 of each of the conductors 13.
Thereafter, heat is applied in an amount sufiicient to cause the glass plate 9 to reach the working temperature thereof whereupon the force applied by the weight 27 causes the conductors 13 to penetrate the glass plate 9 and enter the indentations 21 of the mold 17 substantially as illustrated in FIG. 3. Preferably, the heat is applied in a furnace having a neutral or slightly reducing atmosphere in order to prevent deterioration of the mold 17 and of the jig 23.
As a specific example, a glass plate 9 of ordinary window glass or soda lime glass having a coefficient of expansion of about 93x10 units/c. was placed in a graphite mold having a coefficient of expansion of about 80 units/0c. and heated for about minutes to a temperature in the range of about 900 to 950 C. Thereupon, the electrical conductors 13 penetrated the glass plate 9 and upon cooling were hermetically sealed there- After the glass plate 9 has been cooled and annealed in a manner Well known in the art of working glass, the glass plate 9 with the conductors 13 hermetically sealed therein is removed from the source of heat. Thereupon, the surface of the glass plate 9 as well as the rounded end portion 14 of the conductors 13 are ground by ordinary means such as a grinding wheel 31, illustrated in FIG. 4, to provide a smooth surface 11 on the glass plate 9 with the flattened end portions of the pins flush therewith.
Referring now to an enhanced planar multiple character electroluminescent display device, FIG. 5 illustrates one embodiment of such a device including a glass backing plate 7 having a smooth surface 11 with exposed end portions 15 of the hermetically sealed electrical conductors 13 flush therewith. Individual electrical conductors or first electrodes 33 in the form of a display configuration are disposed on the smooth surface 11. Each of the first electrodes 33 is electrically isolated from the others by spacings 35 therebetween. Also, each of the first electrodes 33 is electrically connected to the end portion 15 of at least one of the electrical conductors 13.
Overlaying the first electrodes 33 and the remainder of the smooth surface 11 is a phosphor-dielectric layer 37. An electrically conductive layer or second electrode 39 is affixed to the phosphor-dielectric layer 37 and an airimpermeable transparent layer 40 is disposed on the second electrode 39. Also, a hermetic seal 41 is aflixed to the periphery of the glass backing plate 7 and the transparent layer 40 to provide a unitary hermetically sealed planar multiple character electroluminescent display device.
Referring to the block diagram of FIG. 6, an improved process for fabricating the enhanced planar multiple character electroluminescent display device illustrated in FIG. 5 includes the steps of forming a planar backing plate, depositing a plurality of individual electrical conductors on one surface thereof, overlaying the conductors with a phosphor-dielectric layer, depositing an electrically conductive layer or second electrode onto the phosphor-dielectric layer, overlaying the second electrode with an air-impermeable transparent layer, vacuum heating the backing plate, electrical conductors, phosphordielectric layer, and electrically conductive layer to remove the moisture therefrom, and hermetically sealing the periphery of the backing plate and layers.
More specifically, one particular embodiment includes a backing plate 7 having a planar smooth surface 11 and a multiplicity of electrical conductors 13 hermetically sealed therein. This backing plate 7 is preferably fabricated in accordance with the previously described process wherein each of the electrical conductors 13 has an exposed end 15 which is substantially flush with the smooth surface 11 of the glass backing plate 7.
The individually conductive first electrodes 33, isolated from each other by spacings 35, are deposited onto the smooth surface 11 of the glass backing plate 7 by silk screening, vacuum depositions or any one of a number of similar well known techniques to form a display configuration. Each of the electrodes 33 is electrically connected to the end portion 15 of at least one of the electrical conductors 13 whereby energization thereof is provided. Also, the electrodes 33- are of an electrically conductive material such as aluminum, silver, and gold which are especially adapted to both the deposition techniques and electrical conduction capabilities desired.
A phosphor-dielectric layer 37 is deposited onto and overlays the first electrodes 33 as well as the remainder of the smooth surface 11 of the glass backing plate 7. The phosphor-dielectric layer 37 may be deposited by spraying, painting, in the form of a film, or any one of a number of well known deposition techniques. Also, the phosphor-dielectric layer 37 includes any electroluminescent phosphor material energizable by an electric field to produce visible light and any one of a number of suitable dielectric materials such as polyvinyl-chloride acetate, methyl methacrylate, polystyrene and glass frit.
Further, it should be noted that the phosphor-dielectric layer 37 may be applied as a singular layer or as individual lamina of phosphor materials and dielectric materials depending upon the type of device desired. For example, a preferred so-called plastic type of device would include a first lamina of dielectric material such as barium titanate suspended in a suitable binder and afiixed to the first electrodes 33 and smooth surface 11 and a second lamina of phosphor materials such as copper doped zinc sulphide in a suitable binder such as cyano ethyl cellulose and afiixed to the first lamina.
Alternatively, the device may be of the so-called ceramic type, in which case the phosphor-dielectric layer 37 would be a singular layer including a mixture of dielectric material, such as glass frit for example, and the above-mentioned phosphor materials. Moreover, the phosphor-dielectric layer 37 for the ceramic type of structure would be fired at a temperature in the range of about 1000 to 1100 F. to cause fusion of the abovementioned glass frit material.
Further, the end portion of certain selected ones of the electrical conductors 13 is masked or shielded prior to the application of the phosphor dielectric layer 37. Thus, removal of the mask or shielding after the phosphor-dielectric layer 37 has been applied causes exposure of the end portion 15 of the certain selected ones of the electrical conductors 13. Obviously, the phosphor-dielectric layer 37 may be applied in a continuous uninterrupted layer and a portion 38 thereof removed to cause exposure of the end portion 15 of certain selected ones of the electrical conductors 13.
Following a continuous uninterrupted light transparent electrically conductive layer 39 forming a second electrode is affixed to and overlays the phosphor-dielectric layer 37. This conductive layer 39 forming the second electrode extends through the removed portion 38 of the phosphor-dielectric layer 37 and contacts and is electrically connected to the exposed end portion 15 of the certain selected ones of the electrical conductors 13. In this manner, energization of both the first and second electrodes, 33 and 39 respectively, is made possible by way of the electrical conductors 13.
The transparent electrically conductive layer 39 or second electrode may be of a material such as tin oxide, bismuth oxide, and aluminum oxide. Preferably, the conductive layer 39 is of a material such as indium oxide suspended in a binder of vinylidene fluoride. This indium oxide suspension is preferred because of the ease with which the conductive layer 39 may be applied whereby the necessity of utilizing heat during the application process is eliminated.
At this stage, the planar electroluminescent planar display device is virtually completed except for protecting the device from physical damage and humidity. Moreover, numerous humidity and physical protective techniques such as potting, dip-coating, and spraying are applicable and appropriate to the above-described device.
More specifically, a transparent air-impermeable layer 40 is disposed upon the transparent electrically conductive layer 39. The transparent air-impermeable layer 40 serves as a protective covering for the conductive layer 39 and may be any one of a number of well known and appropriate plastic materials. Preferably, the air-impermeable layer 40 is in the form of a transparent glass plate which is especially well adapted to metallizing and pigment impregnation to provide a controllable amount of light transmissibility and contrast between an activated and inactivated condition of the electrodes 33.
Thereafter, the structure including the planar backing plate 7, the individual electrical conductors 33, the phosphor-dielectric layer 37, the electrically conductive layer 39, and the transparent air-impermeable layer 40 is vacuum heated to cause the removal of moisture therefrom. For example, one particular embodiment was heated for approximately minutes at a temperature of about 120 C. and a pressure of about 2 l0- millimicrons.
Having removed the moisture, the periphery of the backing plate 7 and the air-impermeable layer is hermetically sealed 41 with a suitable material such as wax, epoxy, and solder. Also, numerous variations to the hermetic seal 41 will occur to those skilled in the art. For instance, the periphery of the backing plate 7 and air-impermeable layer 40 may be metallized to facilitate a soldering process. Further, the hermeticity of an epoxy seal may be enhanced by an additional covering of a material such as rubber.
Additionally, a portion of the periphery of the backing plate 7 and air-impermeable layer 40 may be sealed prior to the vacuum heating, the structure vacuum heated, a back fill of an inert material such as nitrogen introduced into the structure, and the seal aflixed to the periphery of the backing plate 7 and air-impermeable layer 40 completed. Moreover, numerous well known exhaust and back fill techniques such as glass tubulations are appropriate and applicable to the process. Also, the use of metal and plastic frames to encase the hermetic seal 41 whereby the appearance is enhanced and the device made more rugged may be included within the confines of the previously-described fabrication process.
Thus, there has been provided a unique hermetically sealed planar multiple character electroluminescent display device and an improved process for the fabrication thereof. Further, there has been provided a unique process for fabricating backing plates suitable for use in the abovementioned display devices. Moreover, the above-mentioned display device and processes are not only unique and previously unknown but also provide numerous advantages unattainable in any known device or process.
As an example, the electrical conductors in the form of metal pins are readily available in large quantities, inexpensive as compared with conductors having electrically conductive rubber aflixed thereto, and have an improved hermeticity when sealed into a glass plate. The all-glass backing plate will be flat due to the grinding thereof assuring an easily assembled unit and has an expansion characteristic perfectly matching a transparent glass protective covering assuring improved reliability of the hermetic seals even during such tests as thermal cycling.
Further, the entire display device and fabrication process lends itself much more readily to mass production techniques greatly reducing the operational steps and complexities of manufacture. The fabrication technique and structure has virtually eliminated loss of contact and registration problems and permits re-working of sub-assemblies early in the production cycle, thereby greatly reducing costs. The elimination of the pressure-sealing type of structure reduces the volume of entrapped air in the system providing an enhanced structure especially adapted to adverse environments. Also, the improved structure and fabrication process permit the use of patterns of increased density and complexity as well as reduced size and width.
While there has been shown and described what is at present considered the preferred embodiments of the invention, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
1. In a planar multiple character electroluminescent display device, the combination comprising:
a backing plate of electrical insulating material having a smooth surface and a multiplicity of electrically conductors hermetrically sealed therein, each of said conductors having an exposed end portion substantially flush with said smooth surface;
a plurality of individually energizable electrically conductive first electrodes forming a display configuration affixed to said smooth surface, each of said electrodes being electrically connected to the exposed end portion of at least one of said conductors;
a phosphor-dielectric layer overlaying said first electrodes and said smooth surface, said layer having apertures therein aligned with the exposed end portion of certain ones of said electrical conductors;
a transparent electrically conductive layer forming a second electrode overlaying said phosphor-dielectric layer and extending through said apertures therein, said conductive layer being electrically connected to dielectric layer includes a first lamina of dielectric matesaid exposed end portion of said certain ones of said electrical conductors;
a transparent air-impermeable layer affixed to and overlaying said electrically conductive layer; and
a hermetic seal extending intermediate and aflixed to the periphery of said backing plate and said air-im- 5 permeable layer whereby a unitary multiple character hermetically sealed electroluminescent display device is provided.
2. The combination of claim 1 wherein an inert gas is 10 disposed intermediate said backing plate and said airimpermeable layer.
3. The combination of claim 1 wherein said phosphordielectric layer includes a first lamina having barium titanate dielectric material therein overlayed by a second lamina having copper doped zinc sulphide phosphor material therein and said transparent electrically conductive layer includes indium oxide therein.
4. The combination of claim 1 wherein said phosphor- 8 rial overlayed with a second lamina of phosphor materials. 5. The combination of claim 1 wherein said transparent air-impermeable layer is in the form of a glass plate. 6. The combination of claim 1 including a metallized layer having a controlled light transmissibility aflixed to said air-impermeable layer.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,026,501 3/1962 Gray 250--7l X 3,133,221 5/1964 Knochel et al. 313-408 3,219,865 11/1965 Vodicka 313108 JAMES W. LAWRENCE, Primary Examiner D. OREILLY, Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 3l3-108