Sony Delays Acquisition of FED Factory

A Sony Corp affiliate said on Wednesday it has put on hold plans to acquire a plasma factory in Kagoshima, western Japan, from Pioneer Corp due to difficulties in obtaining funding from investment banks. Field Emission Technologies Inc, 39.8 percent-owned by Sony, is having difficulty securing funding for the acquisition, estimated to be around 20-30 billion yen ($200-301 million), a spokesman said.

“Things are not going as originally planned. We are going to have to review our plans and consider other financing options,” he said without elaborating.

FET, set up in 2006 between Sony and investment fund Technology Carve-Out Investment LLC to develop ultra-thin displays, had originally planned to buy Pioneer’s factory by the end of March 2009. A field emission display (FED) is a flat panel display technology based on field emitting cathodes to bombard phosphor coatings as the light emissive medium.

Field emission display technology is similar to that of cathode ray tubes, however it has the potential to reduce display thickness to a few millimeters. Instead of a single electron gun, a field emission display (FED) would use an array of fine metal tips or carbon nanotubes (which are the most efficient electron emitters known) for emission of electrons (field emission), with many of them positioned behind each phosphor dot. Because of emitter redundancy, FEDs basically could overcome the effect of dead pixels as known from LCDs even if 20% of the emitters fail. Sony is researching FED because it is the flat-panel technology that comes closest to matching the picture of a CRT.[citation needed]

FEDs are supposed to be energy efficient and they could provide a flat panel technology that features less power consumption than existing LCD and plasma display technologies. They are also claimed to be cheaper to manufature, as they have fewer total components and processes involved. As of yet, however, there are no commercial devices available on the market, although small demo panels have been produced in the past.

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