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



ABB Technical Guides - Motor Operation

ABB has produced a range of technical guides that offer concise explanations of the major technologies and technical issues in low voltage AC drives. ...

Understanding Circuit Breaker Markings

IEC 60947 is the circuit breaker standard and covers the marking of breakers in detail. Any manufacturer following this standard should comply with the...

Thermoplastic and Thermosetting Insulation

While there are a vast array of cable insulation materials, these are often divided into two general types; Thermoplastic or Thermosetting. For example...

Fault Calculation - Per Unit System

Per unit fault calculations is a method whereby system impedances and quantities are normalised across different voltage levels to a common base.  By removing...

Periodic Electrical Installation Inspection – What to Inspect?

This is the second post in a series of two on periodic electrical inspections. In the first post, I discussed how often inspections should be carried out...

Alternating Current Circuits

Alternating current (a.c.) is the backbone of modern electrical power distribution. In this article I’ll be pulling some of the more important concepts...

How to measure power supply quality

If your are ever called out to troubleshoot something on your electrical system, one of the first things consider is the supply voltage. You want to ensure...

Lead us, Warleader

Delum, who had watched all in silence, his face empty of expression, now spoke in turn. ' "Lead us, Warleader, into glory."' Reading is something I do...

myElectrical - Cable Sizing Tool Upgrade

Our IEE cable sizing was wrote a few years ago and had become rough around the edges. I thought it was time to give the tool a service. Unfortunately when...

ANSI (IEEE) Protective Device Numbering

The widely used United Sates standard ANSI/IEEE C37.2 'Electrical Power System Device Function Numbers, Acronyms, and Contact Designations' deals with...

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