Facebook icon

What is E-Paper Display Technology & How Does It Work?

February 18, 2022

Electronic paper or e-paper display has many benefits over traditional display technologies, like LCD and LED. As a result, e-paper display technology is widely used across different sectors. But, what is e-paper display technology and how does it work? In this article, we will look at how electronic paper works and its advantages. So, read on to discover what electronic paper display technology is, how it works, and the advantages it offers over other display technologies.

What is e-paper?

E-paper displays can be made using different types of technology, such as electrophoresis, electrowetting, and electrochromism. At Ynvisible, we use electrochromism, as it allows us to use highly scalable, flexible, and cost-effective screen-printing production processes, whereas some display companies, such as E Ink, use electrophoresis. 

Electronic paper or e-paper is a display technology that mimics the appearance of ordinary ink on paper to produce a low-power, paper-like display. E-paper displays typically have a so-called image memory, which means they do not need much power to maintain the display; they mostly need power when there is a change in the display. Therefore, e-paper displays are best for low-frequency switching displays, such as signage and labels.

E-paper displays reflect light rather than emit light, making them very comfortable to read even under direct sunlight. They are extremely popular because of their low power consumption, high reflectivity, high contrast, readability, thickness, and wider viewing angle. E-paper displays are widely used in e-readers, real-time bus arrival information, electronic shelf label (ESL) segments, digital menu boards, traffic signs and, logistics monitoring devices.

e-paper

How does e-paper work?

Several e-paper technologies create e-paper displays, and each works differently. 

Electrophoretic Displays (e.g. E Ink)

Electrophoretic displays from, for instance, E Ink, contain millions of tiny microcapsules. These microcapsules are filled with a clear fluid having small particles of different colors and electric charges. On applying a positive charge, negatively charged particles move to the top, and positively charged particles move to the bottom of the microcapsule and vice versa. This movement of the particles to the top and bottom makes the surface display a specific color.

Electrowetting Displays (e.g. Etulipa)

Etulipa is one of the companies employing electrowetting display technology, which uses the liquid's surface tension to create electrowetting displays. An electrowetting display contains several tiny cells of transparent polar liquid and a colored oil covering a hydrophobic surface. The oil contracts into a small droplet by applying a low voltage to the cells. It then creates an open or closed optical switch capable of displaying text, art, photos, or even video.

Electrochromic Displays (e.g. Ynvisible)

Electrochromic displays are produced using electrochromism, a process where material changes color when applying an electric current. The electrochromic material undergoes chemical oxidation and reduction on applying voltage in the presence of an electrolyte. This results in a color change, which can be finely tuned. Ynvisible's electrochromic displays are ultra-energy-efficient, and one coin cell battery can power them for around 50 years.

Ynvisible’s displays are produced using screen-printing processes that are highly scalable and cost-effective, making them a more cost-effective solution to other e-paper technologies.

electrochromic-displays

Key Features of e-paper

The 5 key features of e-paper technology are:

1. Bistability

E-paper displays have various levels of bistability, which means that the display retains an image without requiring a power source. Ynvisible displays can retain an image for 15 minutes before a small refresh pulse is required. We call this semi-bistability.

2. Low power consumption

Since e-paper displays do not need any backlight nor power to retain an image, these displays have extremely low power consumption, making them ideal for off-grid applications, for example. 

3.Reflectiveness

E-paper displays reflect light; they do not emit any light, making them incredibly energy-friendly. This also makes these displays ideal for reading in direct sunlight, a common flaw found with other display types.

4. Readability

E-paper displays have excellent readability because of their wider visibility angle and high contrast, making them ideal for important announcements, such as traffic updates.

5. Flexibility

Some e-paper displays are used because of their high flexibility - Ynvisible’s displays are flexible enough to curve around a pencil - and lightweight nature - a really important factor when shipping is involved, for example.

high-flexible-e-paper-displays

Advantages of using e-paper

There are many advantages of using e-paper technology. Some of the advantages are:

  • Ultra-low power consumption
  • High-definition and paper-like appearance display
  • Sunlight and non-uniform light visibility
  • High reflectivity and high contrast
  • Thin and light-weight
  • Wider viewing angle
  • Prolonged battery life
  • Anti-glare display surface
  • Available in multiple sizes

Ynvisible’s e-paper displays are also fully customizable and can be developed to meet your exacting brand requirements.

Applications of e-paper

E-paper displays have been around for many years now. E-paper display mainly started off being used in e-book readers but has found use in many more applications across different industries due to its low-power, low-weight and flexible properties. The main applications of e-paper are:

E-readers

The most popular application of e-paper is e-readers. Electronic paper display technology is widely used in e-readers because of its ultra-low power consumption, high reflectivity, and wider viewing angle.

kindle-e-reader

Digital Signage

Electronic paper is perfect for digital signage and public information displays. Ynvisible provides cost-effective display signage solutions for both indoor and outdoor use.

digital-signage-e-paper

Supply chain management

E-paper displays are widely used in supply chain management to track and monitor goods in real-time. Ynvisible’s monitoring labels bring improved visibility and transparency in logistics monitoring.

e-paper-as-supply-change-management

Brand protection

E-paper can also be used to counter the piracy of products. Ynvisible displays are compatible with NFC technology to provide additional security features which make them difficult to replicate, thus providing authenticity and brand protection.

e-paper-display-for-brand-protection

Retail labels

Electronic paper displays are widely used in retail labels as they provide a cheaper alternative to traditional paper label methods. Ynvisible provides customized and branded retail signage and smart labels for electronic shelf labels, promotional signage, discount signs, and more.

In addition, e-paper displays are widely used in transportation signs, menu boards, wayfinding, gas station price signs, digital ID tags, and price boards.

electronic-paper-retail-display

Conclusion

Electronic paper display technology is used in many applications, with e-readers and electronic digital signage being the most prominent. According to market experts, the market value of e-paper displays will reach $3.9 billion by 2027. With e-paper becoming more advanced and durable, it will find application in more sectors, and so the demand for e-displays will increase significantly. 

Get started with Ynvisible’s e-paper displays today with our E-Paper Display Kit - it’s the best way to trial the technology and work out if it’s right for you.

ynvisible-e-paper-display-kit


Check out THE latest news

Press releases, success stories, and educational content from Ynvisible University.

Learn more