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



Introduction to Traction Substations

Following on from my post on railway electrification voltages, I thought an introduction to traction substations would be a good idea. Traction substations...

Copyright Infringement

myElectrical does not support or promote the use of copyrighted material without the copyright owner's consent. If you believe that material for which...

Fire Resistant and Fire Retardant Cables

Fire resistant and fire retardant cable sheaths are design to resist combustion and limit the propagation of flames. Low smokes cables have a sheath designed...

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...

Paths of Flight

GE have put together a time-lapse video shown flight take-off and landings at some airports. An interesting view:

International System of Units (SI System)

The International System of Units (abbreviated SI) is the world's most widely used system of units.  The system consists of a set of units and prefixes...

Introduction to Cathodic Protection

If two dissimilar metals are touching and an external conducting path exists, corrosion of one the metals can take place.  Moisture or other materials...

Cost Performance and Time

Often us engineers get so bogged down in equations, using software, producing drawings and writing specifications that this becomes the sole focus.   ...

Tech Topics/Application Notes - Siemens

There are a lot of interesting two page type notes on various medium voltage topics – switchgear, circuit breakers, bus systems etc. It is on the Siemens...

EU Code of Conduct on Data Centres - Best Practices

The European Union is implementing a voluntary code of practice for participants with the aim of improving the overall efficiency of data centres. As part...

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