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The base vacuum level achieved before loading the discharge gas is known to be an important parameter that affects both the address and sustain discharge characteristics in an AC plasma display panel (PDP), as a higher base vacuum level improves the discharge characteristics. Accordingly, the vacuum sealing method, which can enhance the base vacuum level, is adopted to enhance the MgO characteristics by reducing any residual gas impurity. The resulting changes in the address and sustain discharge characteristics, including the secondary electron coefficient, firing voltage, and dynamic voltage margin, are then compared with the results when using conventional atmospheric-pressure sealing for a 42-in ac PDP with a high Xe (11%) content. The vacuum sealing method was found to improve the secondary electron emission coefficient, lower the firing voltage, particularly under MgO cathode conditions, and increase the dynamic voltage margin. However, the vacuum sealing was also found to deteriorate the visible transmittance of the dielectric layer in the front panel. Nonetheless, the vacuum sealing process enabled the use of a higher Xe content, which is up to 17%, under a stable dynamic margin voltage, thereby improving both the luminance and luminous efficiencies of the AC PDP.