T. Peter Brody

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T. Peter Brody
Portrait of T Peter Brody
T. Peter Brody in 2011
Bródy Tamás Péter

(1920-04-18)18 April 1920
Budapest, Hungary
Died18 September 2011(2011-09-18) (aged 91)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
OccupationFounder and Chief Scientist, Advantech US
Known forInventing the Active Matrix Display

T. P. "Peter" Brody (18 April 1920 Budapest, Hungary – 18 September 2011 Pittsburgh, PA, United States) was a British-naturalised physicist and the co-inventor of Active Matrix Thin-Film Transistor display technology together with Fang-Chen Luo,[1] having produced the world's first Active Matrix Liquid Crystal Display (AM-LCD) in 1972 and the first functional AM-EL (electroluminescent display) in 1973 while employed by Westinghouse Electric Corporation in Pittsburgh. Brody coined the term "active matrix" and first used it in a published journal article in 1975.[2][3]

Early life and career[edit]

From early childhood Brody was interested in sports, particularly swimming and rowing, and had a passion for classical music.[4] In 1938 he left his parents and two younger brothers behind in Hungary to learn the family trade at the London College of Printing. He was naturalised as a British subject in January 1948.[5] He served as a designer/draftsman and worked for the Special Operations Executive in the British Army during and after the Second World War, rising to the rank of staff captain.[6]

Brody studied piano at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London winning the Lady Mayoress' Prize for piano performance in 1952.[7] Brody met his future wife Maude M. Frost at a Fabian Society dance in London and they married in 1952.

Brody obtained a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from the University of London in 1953 and worked as a senior lecturer at the university until 1959. He moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on being offered the opportunity to work as a researcher for Westinghouse Electric Corporation.[8]

From 1959 to 1979 he did theoretical work on tunnel diodes, semiconductor device theory and experiment, injection luminescence, field emission, pattern recognition, later turning his interest to thin film technology.[8][9][10][11]

Thin-Film Transistors[edit]

The cathode ray tube, like the brontosaurus, will become extinct, and for the same reason: too much bulk, very little brain.

— T. P. Brody, 1979[12][13]

Over the years 1968–79, Brody developed many electronic uses for thin film transistors, including flexible circuits, aircraft power controls, industrial timers and others.[14] His work at Westinghouse culminated in the invention of active matrix technology, using a CdSe TFT to drive each individual pixel of a flat panel display.[15][16][17][1] This form of liquid crystal display is the dominant technology in flat panel displays.[18]

When Westinghouse cancelled the research program in 1979, Brody resigned, and two years later founded Panelvision Corporation, the world's first AM-LCD company. In 1983 the company introduced the first AM-LCD products into the US market.[19] Panelvision was acquired by Litton Systems in 1985, and after a period of consulting, Dr. Brody founded Magnascreen Corporation, oriented towards very large area displays, in 1988. This venture was funded in part by Jerome Wiesner, Richard Leghorn of Itek, and Apple's John Sculley, and won contracts worth $7.8 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).[20]

Brody left Magnascreen in 1990 to form Active Matrix Associates, a consulting group, and over the period 1991–97 worked on a number of classified projects for DARPA. In 1998, in collaboration with two former Westinghouse colleagues, Bob Stapleton and Paul Malmberg, he invented a process for fabricating low-cost thin film electronic circuits by purely additive processes. In 2002 he founded Amedeo Corporation (now Advantech US[21]), funded in part by Compaq, dedicated to the exploitation of additive technology. The company is concentrating on the development and commercial production of low cost active matrix backplanes for emerging display technologies, including AM-OLED. He was active as chief scientist of Advantech US until his death at the age of 91.

Brody was a Fellow of the Society for Information Display, and a recipient of many awards in recognition of his pioneering work, which became the foundation of a major new industry. He published over 70 scientific papers and received more than 60 patents.[8] An award has been created in his name to honor outstanding contributions of young researchers to active matrix information display technology.[22]

TP Brody in 2008

Awards and honors[edit]

Society for Information Display (SID) Special Recognition Award[23] 1976
SID Fellowship[8] 1983
SID Karl Ferdinand Braun Prize[8] 1987
Rank Prize in Optoelectronics[24] (UK) 1988
Eduard Rhein Prize[25] (Germany) 1988
IEEE Jun-ichi Nishizawa Medal[1] 2011
Charles Stark Draper Prize[26] 2012

Brody was the first person in history to receive all three major SID awards.


  1. ^ a b c 2011 IEEE Nishizawa Medal
  2. ^ "Active Matrix". OED. Oxford University Press. 2011.(subscription required)
  3. ^ Brody, T.P.; Luo, Fang Chen; Szepesi, Z. P.; Davies, D.H. (1 September 1975). "A 6 × 6-in 20-lpi electroluminescent display panel". IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices. 22 (9): 739–748. doi:10.1109/T-ED.1975.18214.
  4. ^ "Obituary: Thomas P. Brody / Made historic mark on electronics while living here". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 24 September 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  5. ^ "NATURALISATION". The London Gazette. 13 February 1948. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  6. ^ "Piece reference HS 9/214". Special Operations Executive: Personnel Files (PF Series). The National Archives. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  7. ^ "Concert Programme CLA/056/AD/03/050". Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Corporation of London Records Office. Archived from the original on 8 June 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Thomas Peter Brody, SID Fellow and Display Pioneer, dies at 91". Society for Information Display. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  9. ^ Brody, T. P. (1 January 1962). "Nature of the Valley Current in Tunnel Diodes". Journal of Applied Physics. 33 (1): 100–111. doi:10.1063/1.1728464.
  10. ^ "BINARY MATERIAL FIELD EMITTER STRUCTURE". United States Patent 3,720,856. USPTO. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
  11. ^ REITBOECK, H; BRODY, T (1 August 1969). "A transformation with invariance under cyclic permutation for applications in pattern recognition". Information and Control. 15 (2): 130–154. doi:10.1016/S0019-9958(69)90387-8.
  12. ^ Brody, T. P. (1 May 1980). "When – If ever – Will the CRT be replaced by a flat display panel?". Microelectronics Journal. 11 (3): 5–9. doi:10.1016/S0026-2692(80)80089-9.
  13. ^ "Westinghouse Wasn't Sure; Peter Brody Is". Inc. Magazine. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  14. ^ Crawford, edited by Gregory P. (2005). Flexible flat panel displays. Chichester, West Sussex, England: John Wiley & Sons. p. 263. ISBN 978-0-470-87048-8.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  15. ^ "Liquid crystal image display panel with integrated addressing circuitry". 10 October 1972. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  16. ^ Brody, T.P.; Asars, J.A.; Dixon, G.D. (1 November 1973). "A 6 × 6 inch 20 lines-per-inch liquid-crystal display panel". IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices. 20 (11): 995–1001. doi:10.1109/T-ED.1973.17780.
  17. ^ Castellano, Joseph A. (2005). Liquid gold : the story of liquid crystal displays and the creation of an industry ([Online-Ausg.] ed.). New Jersey [u.a.]: World Scientific. p. 176. ISBN 978-981-238-956-5.
  18. ^ Boer, Willem den (2005). Active matrix liquid crystal displays. Amsterdam: Elsevier. ISBN 978-0-7506-7813-1. Preface.
  19. ^ "Panelvision MiniGraphic "active matrix" display". Harvard's Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments. Archived from the original on 1 April 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  20. ^ Florida, Richard; Browdy, David (August–September 1991). "The invention that got away". Technology Review. 94 (6): 42–55. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
  21. ^ "Advantech US". Corporate website. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  22. ^ "SID Announces New Peter Brody Prize to Honor Young Researchers for Outstanding Contributions for Active Matrix Addressed Information Displays". Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  23. ^ "Special Recognition Awards". Awards. Society for Information Display. Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  24. ^ "Rank Prize for Optoelectronics". Prizes awarded by the Optoelectronics Fund. Rank Prize. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  25. ^ "Award Winners (chronological)". Award Winners. Eduard Rhein Foundation. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  26. ^ "Draper Prize 2012". Draper Prize. National Academy of Engineering. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2012.

External links[edit]