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.
Today's electronic displays have ever more evolved to be more lightweight, efficient and clear. Yet the importance of the paper has not diminished. We still prefer it to others for a variety of reasons including its readability, high contrast, convenient handling, minimum power requirement cost and strainless reading it offers. At the same time, an electronic display offers us a paperless environment and relieves us from carrying loads of paper for referring to information when required.
Electronic ink is a pioneering invention that combines all the desired features of a modern electronic display and the sheer convenience and physical versatility of sheet of paper. E-paper or electronic paper is sometimes called radio paper or smart paper. Paper would be perfect except for one obvious thing: printed words can't change. The effort is to create a dynamic high-resolution electronic display that's thin and flexible enough to become the next generation of paper.
The technology has been identified and developed is well under way. Within five years, it is envisioned electronic books that can display volumes of information as easily as flipping a page and permanent newspapers that update themselves daily via wireless broadcast. They deliver the readability of paper under virtually any condition, without backlighting. And electronic ink displays are persistent without power, drawing current only when they change, which means batteries can be smaller and last longer.
Two companies are earning 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, Massachusetts in U.S.A. The other is Xerox doing reseaici. work at the Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center. Big companies like Philips, p^gain books, Motorola, The Hearst Corporation, and Atlas Venture axe ftidi-g both. These are the companies who believe that electronic paper does have a f-V-re,
2. E-PAPER TECHNOLOGY
Electronic paper is also called as radio paper or smart paper or e-paper or electronic ink, is a display technology designed to mimic the appearance of regular ink on paper. Electronic paper reflects light like ordinary paper and is capable of holding text and images indefinitely without drawing electricity or using processor power, while allowing the paper to be changed. One important feature needed is that the pixels be image stable, so that the state of each pixel can be maintained without a constant supply of power.
Electronic paper was developed in order to overcome some of the limitations of computer monitors. For example, the backlighting of monitors is hard on the human eye, whereas electronic paper reflects light just like normal paper. It is easier to read at an angle than flat screen monitors. It is lightweight, durable, and highly flexible compared to other display technologies, though it is not as flexible as paper.
Predicted future applications include e-paper books capable of storing digital versions of many books, with only one book displayed on the pages at any one time.
It is a portable, reusable storage and display medium that looks like paper but can be repeatedly written on electronic means -thousands or millions of times
E paper consisted of two transparent layers containing oil with suspended beads. The beads have different colored hemispheres; charged positively and negatively. When a charge is applied to the sandwich, the beads rotate. Full rotation displays as black or white and a partial rotation displays in gray shades. The image stays until a new charge in applied.
3. ABOUT LUCENT TECHNOLOGY
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.
4. KEY BENEFITS
Unlike conventional LCD's and other kinds of reflective displays, an electronic ink display is exceptionally bright and is ready viewable under both bright and dim lighting conditions. To be more assertive we could compare electronic ink display with the latest liquid crystal displays.
Table 1: Comparison of E-ink & LCD
Electronic ink display Liquid Crystal Displays
Wide viewing angle Best image only from one position
Black on paper white Gray on gray
Readable in sunlight Can be difficult to see
Holds image without power drain Required power to hold images
Legible under most lighting conditions Often requires backlight
Plastic or glass Glass only
Light Weight Power supply and glass make LCDs relatively heavy
Thin (~1 mm) Thick (~7 mm)
4.1 Paper-like Readability
Paper is easily readable over wide variations in lighting conditions and viewing angle. E Ink's electronic ink technology approaches printed paper in performance by incorporating the same coloring pigments often used to make paper white and ink black.
When reading text, both reflectance and contrast are important factors in determining the readability of a display. In fact, the contrast of E Ink is nearly twice that of printed newspaper. As can be seen from its high reflectance and contrast the E Ink display is much more readable than LCD.
The bright paper-white background of electronic ink eliminates the need for a backlight is most conditions.
4.2 Ultra-Low Power Consumption
Electronic ink displays offer greatly reduced power consumption. Lower power consumption translates to longer battery life, and perhaps more importantly, the ability to use smaller batteries in electronic ink devices- reducing device weight and cost. The reason for the reduced power consumption offered by electronic ink displays is two-fold: (1) they are completely reflective requiring no backlight and (2) they are inherently bi-stable for extended periods of time. Once an image is written on an electronic ink display, it will be retained without additional power input until the next image is written. Hence the power consumption of an electronic ink display will ultimately depend upon the frequency at which the displayed image is changed. However, in both cases, a reduction in power consumption by several orders of magnitude can be achieved by using electronic ink with its bi-stable imaging.
4.3 Thin, Light Form Factor
An electronic ink display module is thinner, lighter weight, and more robust than conventional LCD's. These benefits are especially important in smart handheld applications where portability is paramount. First generation, electronic ink displays will be but by laminating electronic ink to a conventional glass TFT substrate In addition, no polarizes are required for electronic ink displays. The resulting electronic ink display cell is also about half that of a typical LCD cell. Elimination of the glass top sheet means that displays made with an electronic ink display module should be inherently more robust.
4.4 The Ultimate Mobile Display Solution
Paper-like viewing characteristics and appearance, combined with ultra-low power consumption and thin light form factors, make E ink's electronic ink display material the ideal technology solution for irformation intensive, handheld devices such as PDAs, mobile phones and electronic readers; or any applications requiring a high degree of display legibility.
5. HIGHLIGHTS OF ELECTRONIC INK
Electronic ink moves information display to a new dynamic level, with dramatic benefits over traditional media.
Superior Look- Because it's made from the same basic materials as regular ink and paper, electronic ink retains the superior viewing characteristics of paper, including high contrast, wide viewing angle, and bright paper-white background.
Versatile - Electronic ink can be printed on almost any surface, from plastic to metal to paper. And it can be coated over large areas cheaply.
Low Power - Electronic ink is a real power miser. It displays an image even when the power is turned off and it's even legible in low light reducing the need for a backlight. This can significantly extend battery life for portable devices.
Scaleable - E Ink's electronic ink process is highly scaleable, which makes it competitive against today's older technologies.
6. THE XEROX VIEW
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.
Ã‚Â¦ LTltra-thin and flexible energy cell
Ã‚Â¦ Costs a few cents; eliminates the cost of the battery and the weight and volume of the battery holder.
Ã‚Â¦ Can be made into almost any shape, can be integrated on almost any surface
Ã‚Â¦ Low cost and simple to produce, using printing process
Ã‚Â¦ Environmentally friendly, non-caustic, no possibility of explosion, burns, or overheating
Ã‚Â¦ Suited to a wide range of environments and challenging conditions of heat and humidity
Ã‚Â¦ 1.5 V primary cell
8. APPLICATIONS USING E- Ink
8.1 Electronic Book
Each page has a common set of address electrodes connected to a single, chip-based display driver in the spine of the book. Such connections may be made by means of an isotropic conducting adhesive, as is prevalent in liquid crystal display technology. A printer has been developed that is capable of printing, not only conducting lines, but n-type (transistor) material, suitable for switching, directly onto the page display. Thus each page has a unique strobe address line making that page active. Alternatively each page may be given a unique page address.
8.2 The Single-Volume Library
A number of interesting applications are possible with such enabling technology. The simplest and least expensive form of the book is basically that of a reversible hardcopy medium. In this scenario no memory, battery, or input is present. In order to download a book, a connection is made to an external computer. A transaction takes place and a book interest is downloaded to be read as we might read any other book.
8.3 Other Products
E- Ink unveiled its first product using electronic ink-immediate large-area displays- in 1999. These large signs draw only 0.1 watts of power, which means that the same power required running a single 100-watt light bulb could power 1,000 immediate signs. E Ink said that in electronic devices, electronic ink would use 50 to 100 times power than liquid crystal displays because electronic ink only needs power when changing its display. Electronic ink can be printed on any surface, including walls, billboards, product labels and T-shirts. Homeowners could soon be able to instantly change their digital wallpaper by sending a signal to the electronic ink painted on their walls. .
9. ADVANTAGES OF ELECTRONIC PAPER
E-Paper has numerous advantages. The reader does not need to get used to a new format - reading an E-Paper equals reading a printed newspaper. However, E-Paper guarantees independency regarding room and time. E-Paper can be read everywhere in the world, at every hour, and since digital editions can also be received on PDAs and smart phones, mobility is almost limitless. Additionally, E-Paper saves resources. On the one hand, paper and space are saved - because E-Paper does not pile up anywhere - on the other hand, valuable time is saved. Since the complete pages are displayed on the PC monitor, one instantly gets an overview over all headlines and thus gets to the relevant articles a lot faster
10. THE FUTURE SCENARIO
The Holy Grail of electronic ink technology is a digital book that can typeset itself and that readers could leaf through just as if it were made of regular paper. Such a book could be programmed to display the text from a literary work and once you've finished that tale, you could automatically replace it by wirelessly downloading the latest book from a computer database. Xerox had introduced plants to insert a memory device into the spine of the book, which would allow users to alternate between up to 10 books stored on the device. Just as electronic ink could radically change the way we read books, it could change the way you receive your daily newspaper. It could very well bring an end to newspaper delivery, as we know it. Instead of delivery people tossing the paper from their bike or out their car window, a new high-tech breed of paper deliverers who simply press a button on their computer that would simultaneously update thousands of electronic newspapers each morning. Sure, it would look and feel like your old paper, but you wouldn't have to worry about the newsprint getting smudged on your fingers, and it would also eliminate the piles of old newspapers that need recycling. Prior to developing digital books and newspapers E-Ink will be developing a marketable electronic display screen for cell phones, PDA's, pagers and digital watches.
Electronic ink is not intended to diminish or do away with traditional displays. Instead electronic ink will initially co-exist with traditional paper and other display technologies. In the long run, electronic ink may have a multibillion-dollar impact on the publishing industry. 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.
> Electronics World, June 2002
> www. gyricon media.com
> www. parc.xerox.com
1. Introduction 1
2. E-paper Technology 2
3. About Lucent Technology 3
4. Key benefits 5
5. Highlights of electronic ink 7
6. The Xerox view 8
7. Properties 9
8. Applications using E-ink 10
9. Advantages of Electronic paper 11
10. The future scenario 12
11. Conclusion 13
12. References 14