What is electronic paper? – ExpertGeek

Electronic paper is a display device designed to look as much like ink on paper as possible. Sometimes also known as electronic ink or electronic ink, electronic paper is a very low-power display technology. The display content is fully visible by reflecting ambient light rather than being illuminated by backlighting or producing light directly as with other types of displays.

Traditionally, e-ink displays try to look as much like paper as possible and display dark text on a white background. However, nothing prevents these devices from displaying white text on a black background.

It is possible to create color e-ink displays using a technology called ‘electrowetting’. Electro-Coating uses an electrical charge to drive an oil film over the pixels. Careful handling of the oil film can create cyan, magenta, and yellow pixels.

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E-ink displays typically run on millions of tiny capsules. In these capsules, there are two electrically charged pigments, one white and one black. By applying an electrical charge through the capsule, one of the pigments rises upwards while the other moves downwards. Only the top pigment is visible to the reader. For example, if the black pigment is negatively charged, it will be attracted to the top of the capsule when the top electrode is positively charged. Many tiny capsules form a single pixel on an electronic ink screen.

One of the main energy saving points of electronic paper is that the capsules are bistable. This means that they are stable in both settings, showing black or white. This stability means that once a charge is applied to change the color of a capsule, it is not necessary to maintain or upgrade it until the capsule needs to change color again.

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In some situations, not all capsules change color perfectly when they are supposed to. This can leave “ghosts” of previously viewed content. To counteract ghosts, e-ink displays can update all or part of the screen by flashing black, then white, etc.

Uses of electronic paper

The main market for e-ink is the e-reader, where minimal power consumption can keep devices running for weeks on a single charge. Other more recent examples of places where electronic paper displays have been used are electronic tags and public transport timetables.

Shelf labels are usually only updated occasionally, spending time and money buying paper and printing them before throwing them away regularly costs a reasonable amount over time. In comparison, an e-ink label can be easily updated and reused, which can save money in the long run.

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Public transportation schedules, such as bus or train schedules, and other types of signs, are rarely updated. E-ink displays are ideal for this use case because they have extremely low power consumption, but can also be easily and quickly adjusted when required.