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T. Peter Brody papers

1915-2011
 Collection
Identifier: 2532

Abstract

Thomas Peter Brody (1920-2011) was a theoretical physicist whose work in tunnel diodes and semiconductor device theory resulted in numerous electronic uses for thin film technology, eventually leading to his invention of active matrix flat panel display technology, or liquid crystal display (LCD) technology. The collection describes Dr. Brody's education, personal and professional character, scientific achievements, business successes and disappointments, as well as personal praise. Included are lecture notes, private and professional correspondence, research studies, patents, contracts, business records, and other documents related to Dr. Brody's career and the development of LCD technology.

Dates

  • 1915-2011

Creator

Extent

23 Linear Feet

General Physcial Description

22 cartons; 1 oversized box; 1 Hollinger box.

Biographical Note

Thomas Peter Brody (1920-2011) was a theoretical physicist whose work in tunnel diodes and semiconductor device theory resulted in numerous electronic uses for thin film technology, eventually leading to his invention of active matrix flat panel display technology, or liquid crystal displays (LCD). Born in Budapest, Hungary, on April 18, 1920, Brody initially studied music at a young age, while also taking up an interest in sports such as rowing and skiing. After moving to England in 1938, Brody attended the London College of Printing where he trained to be a master printer with intentions on taking over the family business. While in London, he also studied piano at the Guildhall School of Music, giving numerous recitals at well-known concert venues. During the Second World War, Brody served in the British Army, working as a draftsman in the Second Operations Unit.

After the war, Brody attended the University of London, where he received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics in 1953. He worked at the university as a senior lecturer in physics until 1959, when he was offered a position at the Research Laboratories of Westinghouse Electric Corporation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Brody moved there with his wife and daughter the same year.

Dr. Brody’s research at Westinghouse helped define his later career. His theoretical work on tunnel diodes, semiconductor device theory and experimentation, injection luminescence, field emission, and pattern recognition led to an interest in thin film technology. In the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, Brody developed numerous electronic uses for thin film transistors, which were made by depositing thin films of an active semiconductor layer and metallic contacts over a supporting substrate. This development was the early foundation for the implementation of LCD technology. Accordingly, in 1968 Brody pioneered TFT circuits on flexible substrates. In his subsequent years, Brody invented and fully developed active matrix flat panel display technology. His department quickly understood the value of thin film transistor circuitry, coupled with active matrix technology to create low cost displays, later to be developed for flat panel displays in televisions and computers. In 1972, his department at Westinghouse built the world’s first Active Matrix Liquid Crystal Display, and in the following year constructed the world’s first AM-Electroluminescent Display. In 1974, Brody demonstrated real-time video imagery in both types of displays and in the next year coined the term active matrix.

Dr. Brody resigned from Westinghouse in 1979 when the company cancelled its research program. In 1981, he founded the Panelvision Corporation, the world’s first Active Matrix Liquid Crystal Display company. Two years later the company introduced their product to the U.S. market. After Litton Systems acquired Panelvision in 1985, Brody focused his efforts on founding a new company called Magnascreen Corporation in 1988, which produced large area screens. Two years later Brody left Magnascreen to form Active Matrix Associates, a consulting group that gave him the opportunity to work on a number of classified projects for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Brody took on a number of projects, including a collaboration with former Westinghouse colleagues that resulted in a process for fabricating low-cost thin film electronic circuits using the additive process. As a result, in 2002 he founded the Amedeo Corporation for the exploitation of additive technology, competing with much larger companies in the United States and Japan. Brody remained active with the company until his death from Leukemia on September 18, 2011.

Throughout his life, Brody received numerous honors and recognitions for his work in active matrix display technology. He was a Fellow of the Society for Information Display (SID), published over seventy papers, and received over sixty patents. Brody was a recipient of the SID Special Recognition Award in 1976, the SID Fellowship in 1983, and the SID Karl Ferdinand Braun Prize in 1987, and is the first person to receive all three major SID awards. In addition, Brody also posthumously received the 2012 Charles Stark Draper Award for the engineering development of the Liquid Crystal Display used in billions of consumer and professional devices.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged into six series:

Series I. Biography and Professional Background - arranged chronologically

Series II. Development and Application of the Active Matrix Thin Film Transistor Liquid Crystal Display - arranged chronologically and by first date of a multipart grouping

Series III. Patents - arranged chronologically by first date of a multipart grouping

Series IV. Private and Government Contracts - arranged alphabetically by contractor

Series V. Business Records - arranged chronologically by first date of a multipart grouping

Series VI. Subject Files - arranged chronologically

Scope and Content

The T. Peter Brody papers consist of important information collected by Brody throughout his career in the form of technical reports, research studies, lecture notes, published papers, newspaper clippings, business plans, private and professional correspondence, patents, and contracts.

The collection is organized into six series: Biography and professional background; Development and application of the active matrix thin film transistor liquid crystal display (AMTFTLCD); Patents; Private and government contracts; Business records; and Subject files.

Biography and professional background series includes information on Brody's early apprenticeships and early studies, acceptance of his position at Westinghouse, notes on his education and degrees – including his Ph.D. thesis on the thermodynamics of crystal lattices - as well as numerous handwritten notes stemming from his early career in theoretical physics. Brody’s various awards are also included.

Development and application of the active matrix thin film transistor liquid crystal display (AMTFTLCD) series contains correspondence documenting Brody’s efforts to grow and develop thin film technology, exchanges of information regarding flat panel displays, as well as information on Brody’s companies and their competitors. Product reports and studies reveal not only the discoveries, inventions, and patents, but also the applications of electronic circuitry from diodes to flexible thin transistors, used to operate televisions, computers, speech recognition devices, radar, and household solid state appliances.

The Patents series consists of patent applications and patent disclosures the majority of which are Brody's, while patents issued to his colleagues and other scientists are also included.

Private and government contracts series document the widescale affect he had on the industry and the technology’s application to the computer, military, and aerospace fields between 1960 and 2009. These include contracts with NASA, the U.S. Army and Navy, private universities, Apple Computers, and competing companies in Japan, to name a few.

Business records series contains information on conferences, laboratory services at Westinghouse, print materials, business plans, photographs of inventions and company plants, managerial changes, buyouts, and the production of various products. Of note are a set of biographies on Brody’s colleagues throughout the years.

The Subject files series consists of files on various technologies related to LCD development between 1931 and 2002.

Access Restrictions

Records less than 25 years old are closed to researchers.

Additional Information

Additional Description

Provenance

Gift of the Estate of Thomas Peter Brody

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
T. Peter Brody papers
Status:
Online
Author:
Dave Burdash
Date:
2016.
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400