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What’s E Ink?

October 27, 2009

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Scheme of the E Ink technology.

E Ink is a type of electronic paper manufactured by E Ink Corporation, founded in 1997 based on research started at the MIT Media Lab.

It is a proprietary material that is processed into a film for integration into electronic displays, particularly for e-Readers such as the Sony Reader, the iLiad, the Cybook Gen3, the Amazon Kindle, the Readius device from Polymer Vision [1] and Plastic Logic‘s Reader. The Motorola F3 was the first mobile phone to employ E Ink technology into its display, taking advantage of the material’s ultra-low power consumption. In addition, the Samsung Alias 2 utilizes this technology as the display on the buttons change. [2] The October 2008 limited edition North American issue of Esquire was the first magazine cover to integrate E Ink, and featured flashing text. The cover was manufactured in Shanghai, China, shipped refrigerated to the United States for binding and was powered by a nominal 90 day integrated battery supply.[3][4]

According to the manufacturer, “The 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 to become visible to the reader. This makes the surface appear white at that location. 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 location.”[5]

On June 1, 2009, E Ink Corporation announced an agreement to be purchased by one of its primary business partners, Prime View International, for USD$215 million.[6] It is predicted that the purchase by Prime View will speed the development of color E Ink.[6]

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