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1. (WO1980002491) DISPOSITIF D"ENTREE-MAINTIEN EN VIE POUR DISPOSITIF DE TRANSFERT DE CHARGE DE PLASMA
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CLAIMS :

1. A plasma charge transfer device (30) , including an array of transfer electrodes (14) separated

' by dielectric material (18) from an ionizable medium, control means coupled to said transfer electrodes (14) and adapted to control the transfer of discharges in said medium along said device (30) from an input position to an output position in accordance with charges transferred along said dielectric material, and an
electrode pair (I, I«) located at said input position, each electrode of said electrode pair being separated by dielectric material (18) from said ionizable medium, characterized in that said control means is arranged to selectively apply input potentials between one (1) of said electrode pair and a transfer electrode (1*-) at said input position, thereby initiating a discharge in said medium to selectively provide said charge on the dielectric material (18) adjacent said transfer electrode (1, ) at said input position, and in that said control means, is further adapted to repetitively apply keep-alive
potentials across said electrode pair (I, IQ) to repe- petitively discharge said medium at said input position.

2. A charge transfer device according to claim 1, characterized in that said control means is effective to multiplex said input potentials with said keep-alive potentials.

3. A charge transfer device according to claim 1, characterized by erase means including a further electrode pair (E, EQ), located at said output
position, each electrode of said further electrode pair being separated by dielectric material (18) from said medium and cooperating with a transfer electrode (4 ) at said output position to terminate successive discharges of said medium and the charge transfer along said device (30) .
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4. A charge transfer device according to claim 1, characterized in that said control means is effective to apply hold potentials to said transfer electrodes (14), whereby said device (30) is effective as a shift register memory.

5. A charge transfer device according to claim 1, characterized in that the transferred discharges are visible, whereby said device (30) is effective as a display device.

6. A plasma charge transfer device according to any one of claims 1 to 5, characterized in that said ionizable medium is contained within a channel (13) defined by a walled structure, said transfer electrodes (14) being positioned on inside wall surfaces of said walled structure.

7. A method of operating a plasma charge transfer device including an array of transfer electrodes (14) covered by dielectric material (18) and thereby isolated from an ionizable medium, including applying transfer potentials to said transfer electrodes (14) to control the transfer of discharges in said medium along said device (30) from an input position to an output position, characterized by the step of selectively applying input potentials across a first cell having walls defined by the dielectric material (18) covering a first one (I) of an electrode pair located at said input position and an adjacent one (1-, ) of said transfer electrodes to discharge the medium within said first cell, and by the step of repetitively applying potentials across a second cell having walls defined by the dielectric material (18) covering said electrode pair (I, IQ) to ionize said medium thereby facilitating discharge within said first cell.

8. A method according to claim 7, characterized in that said input potentials 'are synchronized with the transfer potentials applied to said first transfer electrode (1,) and in that the potentials repetitively applied across said second cell are multiplexed with said input potentials.

9. A method according to claim 7, characterized by the step of terminating the voltages applied across said second cell at predetermined times such that the walls of said second cell are in a charge-neutral condition.

10. A method according to claim 7, characterized by the step of applying potentials across a third cell located at said output position and having walls defined by dielectric material covering a further elec-trode pair (E, EQ), said third cell being arranged to receive charge from said array and, by selective ionization of said medium, based on the applied potential and the charge state, being arranged to terminate the charge transfer.

11. A method according to claim 10, characterized by the step of terminating the voltages applied across said third cell at predetermined times such that the walls of said third cell are in a charge-neutral condition.