IDTechEx Interviews Co-founder of Nemoptic About E-paper Display Technology
On Wednesday July 23rd, Dr Harry Zervos, technology analyst with IDTechEx, interviewed Jacques Angelé, co-founder and VP Technology Programs of Nemoptic SA, an electronic paper display company. Jacques gave insight into the technology, goals and market potential for the company over the next few years.
Created in 1999, Nemoptic is headquartered near Paris and has raised more than 35 million Euros. It operates a pilot production unit in Sweden and has a large-scale production facility agreement with Seiko Instruments Inc as of April 2007. The company's technology, BiNem® (Bistable Nematic), has applications for a range of handheld devices as well as electronic shelf labels.
BiNem® technology is based on a unique principle called "surface anchoring breaking" fully patented by Nemoptic. BiNem® technology has two stable states, the Uniform (U) state and the Twisted (T) state, which are selected by applying simple pulses. Once either state is selected, it stays like it is forever without consuming any additional power. The only way to go from one state to the other is to bring energy in the form of an electrical pulse. This pulse first lifts the molecules on the surface with the weak anchoring layer up to the point where the anchoring is broken. Then, depending on the shape of the falling edge of the pulse, the molecules organize either in U or T state.
Competition, e-paper technologies
Jacques commented on the large visibility that E-Ink technology has received due to the number of companies that are using their technology for applications in e-book readers. According to Jacques, this is not direct competition to Nemoptic as the company is focusing on the niche market of electronic shelf labels (ESLs) and there are other serious competitors in that field: The all pervasive, simple "paper" as well as other existing electronic tags (e.g. segmented twisted nematic -TN tags) that are already very low cost. BiNem® technology displays fully graphical information while achieving competitive costs as this market and the technology is maturing. To put some numbers in the equation, Jacques stated: