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In this paper, we describe the experimental approaches to understand the microdischarge physics of an alternating current plasma display panel (ac PDP) cell. We discuss the experimental techniques to explore the major parameters to understand the operation of ac PDP such as the vacuum ultra violet (VUV) emission and wall charge variation. Regarding the discharge dynamics, the detailed VUV emission characteristics were measured and explained by the gas reaction modeling and the microdischarge characteristics during the ramp reset period were compared with the simulation result. The wall voltage and wall charge distribution were measured by laser induced fluorescence (LIF) and electro-optic modulation method. The slight increase of the wall voltage by Xe addition to pure He discharge gas was observed by LIF. And the existence of self-erasing discharge results in the drastic decrease of wall charge near discharge gap.