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E-Paper Technology

PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 7:51 pm
by Prasanth
E-paper is a revolutionary material that can be used to make next generation ; electronic displays. It is portable reusable storage and display medium that look like paper but can be repeatedly written one thousands of times. These displays make the beginning of a new area for battery power information applications such as cell phones, pagers, watches and hand-held computers etc. Two companies are carrying our pioneering works in the field of development of electronic ink and both have developed ingenious methods to produce electronic ink. One is E-ink, a company based at Cambridge, in U.S.A. The other company is Xerox doing research work at the Xerox's Palo Alto Research Centre. Both technologies being developed commercially for electronically configurable paper like displays rely on microscopic beads that change color in response to the charges on nearby electrodes. Like traditional paper, E-paper must be lightweight, flexible, glare free and low cost. Research found that in just few years this technology could replace paper in many situations and leading us ink a truly paperless world.


The company E-ink has developed electronic ink and e-ink displays with the collaboration of Lucent Technologies.Electronic ink is a proprietary material that is processed into a film for integration into electronic displays. Although revolutionary in concept, electronic ink is a straightforward fusion of chemistry, physics and electronic to create this new material. The principal components of electronic ink are millions of tiny microcapsules, about the diameter of a human hair. In one incarnation, each microcapsule contains positively charged particles of white titanium dioxide and negatively charged black or blue liquid dye particle suspended in a clear solution that change color when exposed to an electric charge. That is the charged dye particles move either up or down within the capsules. When a negative charge is applied, the white particles move to the top of the capsule where they become visible to the user.

This makes the surface appear white at the spot. At the same time an opposite electric charge pulls the black or blue dye particles to the bottom. But reversing the process, black/blue dye particles appear at the top of the capsule, which now makes the surface dark at that spot.
Once the image is formed no power is required to keep the particle in position. To form an E-ink electronic display, the ink is printed on to a sheet of plastic film that is laminated to a layer of circuitry. The circuitry forms a pattern of pixels that can then be controlled by a display driver. The display is made up of several layers and is approximately 1mm in thickness.

These microcapsules are suspended in a liquid "carrier medium" allowing them to be printed using existing screen-printing processes ink virtually any surface, including glass, plastic, fabric and even paper. Ultimately electronic ink will permit almost any surface to become a display, bringing information out of the confines of traditional devices and into the world around us.


The company Xerox is also working on a technology that could replace paper as portable, renewable reading matter. Xerox in partnership with 3M, has created as E paper called Gyricon. It's composed of a silicon rubber compound with the thickness and flexibility of poster board. The Gyricon sheets contain thousands of plastic balls, black on one side and white on the other, suspended in oil. The balls act as pixels to display images that can be updated much the same way as with a monitor. The beads are embedded in a large sheet, with each microcapsule suspended in oil to allow the beads to rotate in their orbits.

Gyricon, like real paper, uses reflective light, so it would use less electricity. A Gyricon book will eventually be connected with a wireless device that will enable a reader to download content from the Internet. Xerox will also make the Gyricon interactive, so a user could write on it and reuse it.


■ Ultra-thin and flexible energy cell
■ Costs a few cents; eliminates the cost of the battery and the weight and volume of the battery holder.
■ Can be made into almost any shape, can be integrated on almost any surface
■ Low cost and simple to produce, using printing process
■ Environmentally friendly, non-caustic, no possibility of explosion, burns, or overheating
■ Suited to a wide range of environments and challenging conditions of heat and humidity