Electronic ink is a proprietary material that is processed into a film for integration into electronic displays. Revolutionary in concept, electronic ink is a fusion of chemistry, physics and electronics to create this new material. 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 positive electric field is applied, the white particles move to the top of the microcapsule where they become visible to the user. This makes the surface appear white at that spot. 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 spot.
To form an E Ink electronic display, the ink is printed onto a sheet of plastic film that is laminated to a layer of circuitry. The circuitry forms a pattern of pixels that can then be controlled by a display driver. These microcapsules are suspended in a liquid "carrier medium" allowing them to be printed using existing screen printing processes onto virtually any surface, including glass, plastic, fabric and even paper. Ultimately electronic ink will permit most any surface to become a display, bringing information out of the confines of traditional devices and into the world around us.
Microscopic view of E Ink microcapsules.
Founded in 1997 based on research started at the MIT Media Lab, E Ink Corporation is the leading provider of electronic paper display (EPD) technologies. Products made with E Ink's revolutionary electronic ink possess a paper-like high contrast appearance, ultra-low power consumption and a thin, light form. E Ink's technology is ideal for many consumer and industrial applications spanning handheld devices, watches, clocks and public information and promotional signs.