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How Monitors Work (Page 1/5)

Posted: May 28, 2000
Written by: Tuan "Solace" Nguyen


Here we are again, tackling yet another mystery to many of us. Last time I talked about how optical devices work. I hope that helped many of you out and cleared up questions you may have had.

Today we're going to be talking about one of the most fundamental components of your computer system -- the monitor.

You've been staring at it day in and day out, and it has displayed everything for you from spreadsheets, to games, to other unmentionables. How does the monitor display pictures and move images? Well, it might interest you to know that the basics of the monitor were developed well over a century ago.

But, like always, let's start from the ground up, or rather, from the back to the front.

Shoot Me

Did you know that right now, as you're reading this article, there's a loaded, triple barrel gun sitting right in front of you blasting away?

At the heart of your monitor, is the CRT or cathode-ray tube. And inside this assembly (at the back of your monitor) is an electron gun. A cathode, is a cell that sheds electrons when electrical current is applied. The cathodes rise in temperature all the way up to a scorching 800 degrees Celsius. They shed their electrons which are then gathered by a grid and focused into the gun chamber. Inside the chamber are three guns, one for each color -- red, green and blue. After the electrons are gathered and begin traveling through the tubular chamber, harnesses throughout the chamber (with electromagnetic fields) accelerate the electrons, these are the elliptical aperture lenses..

This entire assembly is housed inside a vacuum chamber. This is the only way the electrons will be emitted without any material interference.

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