Electronic Paper — Paper Route
E Ink’s E-Paper Technology
Most of the currently available (and forthcoming) electronic readers use some variety of the electronic ink technology developed by the Cambridge, MA-based E Ink. E Ink’s “electronic ink” is an electrophoretic process; that is, it comprises millions of microcapsules, each about the diameter of a human hair. Each capsule contains a clear fluid suspended in which are tiny black-and-white particles. The black and the white particles each carry opposite electrical charges.
When an electrical field is applied, the particles move vertically within the capsules: a negative electric charge moves the white particles to the top of the capsules—where they’re visible to the viewer—while a positive charge moves the black particles to the bottom of the capsules—where they’re not visible. Reversing the polarity reverses the visibility of the white and back particles. Black particles form image areas, while white areas form non-image areas.
E Ink technology is said to reduce energy consumption, to an amount that is 100 times lower than a standard LCD, and can be processed into a film for integration into electronic displays within cameras, ATMs, kiosks, GPS devices, smartphones, PDAs, wireless tablets, signage—and many, many other applications. It is also bi-stable; that is, it only requires power to change the display not to project the display, which is what contributes to its long battery life.
E Ink technology has been seized on by numerous other manufacturers and implemented in their flexible display offerings. E Ink is presently working on adding color to its flexible screen offerings. However, high-quality video and audio capabilities are most likely a decade away from commercial availability. Given that the E Ink technology is a mechanical process, the rapidly changing display required by video is beyond its abilities. For now.