What is E-Paper
Electronic paper (e-paper) are display devices that mimic the appearance of ordinary ink on paper. Unlike conventional backlit flat panel displays that emit light, electronic paper displays reflect light like paper and can be viewed from almost every viewing angle.Viable alternatives for regular newspaper have been available for roughly three years (Jan 2004), and often referred to as electronic paper, e-paper or e-readers. These products are meant to carry many of the qualities of paper, such as reading using reflective light, high resolution, 180° viewing angle, high contrast. These properties, along with its notably low power consumption, distinguishes the e-paper displays from devices relying on more traditional display technology, such as the LCD, CRT or plasma screen components.
Apart from the display itself, the e-readers consist mostly of standard components, such as a plastic housing, a low-power one-chip microprocessor, rechargeable battery, controller boards and implements for navigation, such as buttons, jog wheels or stylus for browsing through your household electronic newspaper edition. Some of the devices also carry an on-board wireless radio transceiver to automatically download the latest edition on demand, which makes them similar in usage to a cellular phone, only with about ten times bigger screen.
There are several patented methods on how to create and sustain an image on the epaper device, of which E-ink Technology (MIT start-up, founded in 1997) represents the most widespread to date. Other companies with similar ideas, such as Epson and Bridgestone, have yet to market their products in early 2007. A crash course on the technology involves a 200 microns thin plastic laminate sandwiching microcapsules containing both black (carbon) and white (titanium dioxide) particles that are attracted to a negative or positive charge respectively (Figure 3). Once an image is established, the static charge is held without consuming power for hours and days until the image is updated again, when “flipping” to the next page.