maandag 27 april 2009

A New E-Paper Competitor

Pixels containing ink reservoirs could lead to bright e-readers that look more like printed paper.

Inkwells: Each hexagonal pixel in a new e-paper design has a reservoir in the center containing carbon black ink that spreads out when a voltage is applied. Credit: Gamma VisionA new display technology could make electronic paper look more like the real thing. Conventional ink on paper has a much higher brightness and black-and-white color contrast than electronic paper. The new display, made by researchers at the University of Cincinnati, in Ohio, is designed to match the brilliance and contrast of paper. "We've demonstrated a technology where you have the brightness of paper, and color has the same saturation that you expect from printed media," says electrical- and computer-engineering professor Jason Heikenfeld, who led the work, which was published in Nature Photonics.
The pixels also switch between black and white within one millisecond, making the technology suitable for video (LCDs currently switch in a few milliseconds). A slower refresh speed of tens to hundreds of milliseconds is one of the main issues plaguing current e-paper.

So far, Heikenfeld and his colleagues have made rigid black-and-white displays that reflect 55 percent of ambient light--far more than any electronic-paper products currently on the market. White paper reflects 85 percent of ambient light, so it looks much brighter than Heikenfeld's system. But Heikenfeld says that the technology could be used to make full-color flexible plastic displays that have more than 60 percent brilliance, and higher-grade materials and manufacturing processes should eventually make his device almost as bright as white paper.

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