E-ink technology is rooted in a research achievement in the MIT Media Lab in the last century. Using this technology, hair diameter size capsules, which can show the color change among black,gray and white when they are controlled by an electric field, can be made. This feature can be used to make display screens, and this kind of screen, compared with the popular LCD screen, has many unique features.
One of the most important characteristics of e-ink is from those smaller black-or-white particles floating in the liquid in the tiny capsules mentioned above. These black-or-white particles have opposite charges, which cause them to move with the change of external electric field, thus making the capsules color change. The relationship between this color change and the change of the electric field is bistable, so the color of the capsule can be kept even after the electric field is removed.
As pixels, these tiny capsules, like ink for writing, are coated on the plastic substrate. The film is cut into different sizes, and then combined with the control module that generates the electric field to make the e-ink screen. This kind of screen does not need backlight, and mainly relies on the reflected light of the environment. The content displayed is stable and looks like a traditional newspaper. It is very friendly to the eyes in a heavy reading senario. Because the screen consumes power only when it needs to change the content, so the overall power-consuming is very low. Because it's made on a plastic base, the screen is very light. Because this kind of screen is very similar to paper, it is also called e-paper. It is often used to make e-book readers.
In 1997, e-ink company was founded, and e-ink technology had officially entered the field of commercial application. In 2009, Taiwan Yuantai Technology Co., Ltd. acquired e-ink company.
Due to the characteristics of light, power saving and eye protection, e ink display can be used in many fields. One of the most important uses is the use in e-book readers. Compared with traditional tablet computers, e-book readers show only black and white, so they are mainly used for reading and they are good at protecting eyes from fatigue. Because the e-ink screen is very energy-saving, the e-reader need only be charged once a week or even several weeks, which is environmentally friendly and convenient.
The refresh rate of e-ink screens is low, but this negative feature, in this application scenario, has become an advantage. Because of the low refresh rate, video and games are unable to be played well, so the users tend to give up playing them, thus ensuring the concentration of reading. The advantage in weight also greatly improves the portability of e-book readers, which is suitable for taking out, walking and traveling.
It has been more than ten years since the birth of e-book readers, and the functions for reading have been very mature and perfect. The latest readers began to add more features, such as waterproof, writable, larger screen, and so on. This makes e-book readers suitable for more scenarios.
And e-ink screens also continue to evolve to follow the needs of the e-book market.
E-book is undoubtedly an important application of e-ink screens. In other aspects, e-ink screens also have some good application examples. For example, if made in a larger size, e-ink screens are very suitable for outdoor display. In the sunlight, they can display high contrast information for a long time using the advantage of low power consumption. In small size, e-ink can be put into a display plate, which can be widely used in the field of Internet of things.
Thanks to the continuous efforts of e-ink, e-ink technology has kept improving. For example, colors had been enriched, from traditional only black and white to three or more colors. Now, with the latest technology, true colors can be achieved.
Another exciting development is the foldable screen. The e-ink screen is laid on a plastic substrate, so the texture can be folded. This is a strong support for wearable electronic products in the future.
E ink has been improving the contrast and refresh rate of the screen, such as the recent Carta + technology, which makes the contrast a higher enhancement. For example, regal and A2 technologies have greatly improved the refresh performance of general e-readers when they surf the Internet or even play videos.
In addition, in the concurrent system, the e-ink screen not only integrates the necessary control circuit, but also integrates the capacitive and electromagnetic touch surface, so that the e-ink screen can easily support the touch and stroke control, and has the handwriting function. This also makes the efficiency of downstream application manufacturers to produce greatly enhanced products.
Due to the electrophoretic technology used in e-ink technology, the turnover of particles is still a physical movement. Compared with the movement of traditional liquid crystals at the molecular level, the speed is still too slow. Therefore, it is difficult to make a big breakthrough in the refresh rate. Due to the complexity and low efficiency of physical control, it is very difficult to control multi colors. Therefore, the progress in color is not satisfactory, or say, costly.
With the rapid development of LCD technology in the future, E-ink technology is facing a great challenge. In addition, it is difficult to say whether its direct competitor, ch-lcd technology based on bistable principle, will also become a strong competition at the right time.
Therefore, people need to wait and see what the future development will be.Related topic：