Milestones:Sharp 14-inch thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal display (TFT-LCD) for TV, which has ushered in TFT LCD industry

From IEEE Milestones Wiki


Sharp 14-inch Thin-Film-Transistor Liquid-Crystal Display (TFT-LCD) for TV, 1988


Sharp demonstrated a fourteen-inch TFT-LCD for TV in 1988 when the display size of the mass-produced TFT-LCD was three inches. The high display quality in Cathode Ray Tube size convinced other electronic companies to join the infant TFT-LCD industry aimed at emerging full-color portable PCs. Two decades later, TFT-LCDs replaced CRTs, making the vision of RCA's LCD group in the 1960s a reality.

Street address(es) and GPS coordinates of the Milestone Plaque Sites

34.621067, 135.841464, 2613-1 Ichinomoto-cho, Tenri, Nara 632-8567 Japan

Details of the physical location of the plaque

The milestone plaque is to be kept in Sharp Technology Innovation Museum, and shown to the public along with other milestones of Sharp business activities of a 100 year history. Sharp Technology Innovation Museum is located in the premise of Sharp Technology Center where LCD research was started and culminated in mass-producing the world-first mini-calculator mounted with LCD and C-MOS logic : the calculator is displayed at the British Science Museum.

How the intended plaque site is protected/secured

Public visitors have to go through security, have to wear ID cards in the museum.

Appointment has to be made to visit the site.

The appointment contact: +81-743-65-0011


Historical significance of the work

It showed that an ideal display, namely, a flat, low-power, light-weight, CRT-sized full-color video display ,which could be used also in high ambient light, is technologically feasible, and that is exactly what had been long waited for to be used in an emerging information age since LCD was press-released in 1968 by RCA. Technologically, it showed : 1. a-Si-TFT could be used for CRT size display. 2. Color TFT-LCD could maintain good display quality even in an high ambient light. 3. A large mother glass scheme could work for a-Si-TFT-LCD, which was proved by the high display uniformity across the entire display area. The mother glass 300mm x 320mm was the very forerunner of the mother glass generation competition which started around 1990, 2 years after Sharp 14-in. full color TFT-LCD was demonstrated.

Features that set this work apart from similar achievements

At the very beginning of a-Si-TFT-LCD business startup, this work clearly showed a-Si-TFT-LCD have the potential to replace monster CRT in the coming information age by its superior characteristics: flatness, light-weight, small power consumption, high saturation full-color rendition, high readability in high ambient light, realized on the 14-in. display size, the most dominant size in the contemporary market by using the technology which was developed to mass-produce twenty 3-in. TFT-LCD TV panels laid out on the mother glass of 300mm x 320mm dimensions. The high display quality was brought about by the fierce battle and cooperation between TFT-LCD research group and TV business group. TV business group knew the market and joined the development project from the very beginning and gave a clear display quality target to TFT-LCD research group to achieve and make the TFT-LCD a viable display technology against CRT dominance. TFT-LCD research group accepted the challenge and made it.

Significant references

[113] “Sharp has developed a 14 TFT color LCD unit,” Sharp Corp. News Release, June 24, 1988.

[114] T. Nagayasu, T. Oketani, T. Hirobe, H. Kato, S. Mizushima, H. Take, K. Yano, M. Hijikigawa, and I. Washizuka, “A 14-in-diagonal full color a-Si TFT LCD,” in Proc. Int. Display Research Conf., San Diego, CA, Oct. 1988, pp. 56–58.

[9] G. H. Heilmeier, “Liquid crystal displays: An experiment in interdisciplinary research that worked,” IEEE Trans. Electron Devices, vol. ED-23, July 1976.

[17] “George Heilmeier. The liquid crystal display,” Wall Street J., May 24, 1993.

[1] H. Kawamoto, “The History of Liquid-Crystal Display and its Industry,” Proceedings of 2012 IEEE HISTELCON, Pavia, Italy, September 2012

[2] B.J.Lechner, "History Crystallized_A First-Person Account of the Development of Matrix-Addressed LCDs for television at RCA in the 1960s",Information Display 1/08 p26-30

Supporting materials