ECE Hall of Fame

Plasma display

H. Gene Slottow

Professors Donald L. Bitzer (BSEE '55, MSEE '56, PhD '60) and H. Gene Slottow (PhD '64), along with student Robert Willson (PhD '66), invented the plasma display panel in 1964. Originally conceived as an interactive component of the PLATO educational network, the plasma panel was both a display and a storage device. Each pixel or dot on the screen glowed like a little neon sign. Once a pixel was lit, it stayed lit until the person at the PLATO terminal requested new information from the computer.

The plasma display created at Illinois is the forerunner to today's high-definition flat-panel television monitors.

Bitzer and Willson with their Emmy Award

In recognition of their invention and its importance, Bitzer, Slottow, and Willson received an Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2002.