The structure and characteristics of the novel shadow mask plasma display panel (SMPDP) are introduced. The metal shadow mask, which is normally used in cathode ray tubes, is used as the barrier ribs instead of the dielectric material in SMPDP. It results in high yield, low cost, and easy-to-realize high resolution since manufacturing of the shadow mask is cheaper and the accuracy is higher than that of the dielectric ribs. The strong local field appears in the discharge cell of SMPDP caused by the metal shadow mask. This decreases the firing voltage, enhances the efficacy and response frequency, etc. The ultrathin SMPDP as a further improvement design of the SMPDP structure is also explained. The front and rear glass substrates are no longer necessary in ultrathin SMPDP. Instead, two ultrathin glass foils (∼50–70 μm) are used as dielectric layers and glass substrates too. The ultrathin SMPDP structure inherits all the advantages of normal SMPDP. In addition, the discharge efficiency can be improved further since the ultrathin glass foil has a smaller relative permittivity. The special in-vacuum sealing technique can be adopted for manufacturing the ultrathin SMPDP. The ultrathin SMPDP meets the demands of further reducing the thickness and weight of display panels and is an important candidate for semiflexible and/or semitransparent display.