On Thursday April 5th 2018 the IEEE Milestone plaque awarded to the Physics Department at Dundee University was unveiled by the IEEE President-elect, Jose Moura.
The ceremony was attended by members of the IEEE UK and Ireland Section and other guests from around the world. In addition to the plaque unveiling, the event included a series of talks on the evolution of flat-panel display technology, with contributions from Professor Cyril Hilsum FRS about the application of amorphous silicon TFTs to LCD flat-panel display technology and Professor Ian Underwood, Scottish Microelectronics Centre in Edinburgh about the overall work of Spear and LeComber and the current technology of flat-panel displays.
The award commemorates the work of Walter Spear and Peter LeComber in the fabrication of amorphous silicon thin film field-effect transistors for the switching of flat panel liquid crystal displays.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Spear and LeComber had discovered that amorphous silicon layers could be produced on large area glass substrates, and that integrated thin film field-effect transistors capable of switching liquid crystal cells could provide the means to enable flat panel displays to be possible. This allowed the development of the technology which we use on a daily basis around the world in flat screen televisions and mobile devices. The award of the IEEE Milestone plaque is the first international recognition of their seminal contribution to television technology.
This is the latest award to the UK & Ireland Section to celebrate historic achievements in electro-technology. Previous Milestone plaques have been awarded to Bletchley Park (Code-breaking), Imperial College (Holography), GCHQ (Public Key Cryptography), Abbey Road Studios (Stereophonic Sound Reproduction), and most recently, the world’s first demonstration of television in Soho, London.