A new display from E Ink can produce full color at every pixel, without having to rely on a color filter array (CFA), the company said today. The electrophoretic display, known as Advanced Color ePaper (ACeP), will be primarily used for digital signage at first.
“At its heart, E Ink is a materials and technology company,” said Frank Ko, chairman of E Ink Holdings, in a statement. “It’s this core that provides the energy and the foundation for the stream of products being developed at E Ink. We expect ACeP to become the basis upon which another generation of [electronic paper] display products can be developed.”
Full Color Gamut
ACeP achieves a full color gamut, including all eight primary colors, using only colored pigments, according to the company. The display utilizes a single layer of electrophoretic fluid that is controlled using voltages compatible with commercial TFT (thin film transistor) backplanes.
E Ink said that the fluid can be incorporated into either microcapsule or Microcup structures. The richness of the colors is achieved by having all the colored pigments in every picture element (a pixel, in this case) rather than the side-by-side pixel colors achieved with a CFA. That eliminates the light attenuation, which can be significant.
Like regular E Ink ePaper, ACeP maintains the ultra-low power and paper-like readability under all lighting conditions, the company said. In developing ACeP, E Ink said that researchers solved the complex problem of how to get reflective color at every pixel in a commercially viable structure. Other approaches have utilized stacked backplane structures that are complex, difficult to manufacture and costly. The E Ink approach utilized only a single backplane, the company said.
Only for Digital Signage, for Now
The breakthrough could eventually prove to be an enormous boon to tablets and e-readers. Most color e-readers use standard LCD displays. But those displays can cause problems when people are reading in brightly lit settings and they can also quickly drain a device’s battery. E Ink’s ACeP technology, on the other hand, is capable of producing 32,000 different colors, improving resolution and contrast. That makes the user experience much closer to that of real paper.
However, it will be probably be some time before the technology can make its way to handheld consumer devices. So far, E Ink said it has only constructed 20-inch displays that only produce 150 ppi of resolution.
That’s both far too large and not nearly a high enough resolution for use in handheld device applications. But E Ink is most likely working to shrink the technology so that it can be used in more situations.
Image Credit: ACeP via BusinessWire (official press release).