E-Ink 

By on

E-ink (electronic ink) is in the news a lot, but what is it.

Before the technical, some general information. E-ink display are found in a lot of e-readers, some mobile phones and similar devices and the intent is to provide a reading experience closer to that of ink on paper than conventional LCD displays deliver. E-ink screens are not backlit and require light falling on them in the same was as reading a book does; reducing eye strain during long reading sessions. An e-ink page is also persistent (does not need power to maintain the text) and power is only required for changing text on the page. The persistent nature of the pages leads to longer times between charging.

How it Works

The developer (and I believe only supplier) of the technology is E Ink Corporation. They developed the technology based on research by MIT Media Lab. To understand how e-ink displays work, he following description is taken from the developers website:

eInkTechnologyThe 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 white particles and negatively charged black particles suspended in a clear fluid. When a negative electric field is applied, the white particles move to the top of the microcapsule where they become visible to the user. This makes the surface appear white at that spot. At the same time, an opposite electric field pulls the black particles to the bottom of the microcapsules where they are hidden. By reversing this process, the black particles appear at the top of the capsule, which now makes the surface appear dark at that spot.

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

If your interested in finding out more, the manufacturers site (see links below) has a downloadable video explaining the process. Currently the screens are only black and white (or grayscale). Colour e-ink is being developed but it will be some years before we see devices on the market.

Related Links



More interesting Notes:
Steven McFadyen's avatar Steven McFadyen

Steven has over twenty five years experience working on some of the largest construction projects. He has a deep technical understanding of electrical engineering and is keen to share this knowledge. About the author

myElectrical Engineering

comments powered by Disqus



Maxwell's Equations - Introduction

Maxwell's Equations are a set of fundamental relationships, which govern how electric and magnetic fields interact. The equations explain how these fields...

MIT OpenCourseWare

MIT OpenCourseWare, makes the materials used in teaching all MIT subjects available on the Web, free of charge, to any user in the world.

How to Write an Electrical Note

Electrical notes are a collaborative collection of electrical engineering information and educational material. Any registered user can add content. ...

Understanding electric motor insulation & temperature

Anyone specifying or using electric motors should have a basic understanding how the insulation is related to temperature. Three classes of insulation...

Thomas Edison

American inventor Thomas Alva Edison was born in Milan, Ohio on February 11, 1847. He was the youngest of seven children and received little formal schooling...

IEC 60287 Current Capacity of Cables - An Introduction

IEC 60287 "Calculation of the continuous current rating of cables (100% load factor)" is the International Standard which defines the procedures and equations...

Back to Basics - Ohm’s Law

Electrical engineering has a multitude of laws and theorems. It is fair to say the Ohm's Law is one of the more widely known; it not the most known. Developed...

Dielectric loss in cables

Dielectrics (insulating materials for example) when subjected to a varying electric field, will have some energy loss.   The varying electric field causes...

Questions - Reputation and Privilege

Our question and answer system while letting you do exactly what it says, is much more.  It is a dynamic user driven system, where our users not only ask...

Battery Cars A to Z

Battery powered cars are a hot topic and widely debated. The pros, cons, issues and time frames can be talked about endlessly. An article by the Telegraph...

Have some knowledge to share

If you have some expert knowledge or experience, why not consider sharing this with our community.  

By writing an electrical note, you will be educating our users and at the same time promoting your expertise within the engineering community.

To get started and understand our policy, you can read our How to Write an Electrical Note