Feeds

Boffins build acme e-paper screen

Electrofluidic panel cheap, clean, colour and video capable

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Scientists at the University of Cincinnati have come up with what they claim is the acme of mobile display technology: a screen that's cheap, able to present content clearly even in bright sunlight, able to retain an image even when there's no power and yet, unlike e-ink screens, can refresh quickly enough to play video.

And, potentially, to do it in colour.

The researchers - from the Novel Devices Laboratory in the University's School of Electronics and Computing Systems, working with the help of companies Gamma Dynamics, DuPont and Sun Chemical - call the screen an electrofluidic display. It uses two immiscible liquids, a clear oil and a pigment, placed in two connected layers with an aluminium electrode sandwiched in between that's capable of reflecting light.

University of Cincinnate EF display

How it works...

The boffins claimed the reflector has a white reflectance of greater than 70 per cent - well above that of rival bright-light readable screens and close to paper's 80 per cent reflectance.

Pixels are flipped from dark to light by applying a voltage to electrodes that drives the two liquids from one layer to the other. When the oil is in the top layer, light passes through and you have a 'white' pixel. The pigment blocks the light when it's on top making the pixel 'black'.

University of Cincinnate EF display

Prototype displays

"When the pigmented substance is positioned in the top layer... it creates a reflected ray of coloured light which combines with literally millions of ambient light rays to produce a full-color display," the scientists say.

Power consumption can be cut further because the liquids stay where they are unless propelled by the charge. Their positions are held by a Laplace Pressure - the difference in pressure between the inside and outside of a bubble.

The upshot: the image is retained when the power is cut, just as it is with an E Ink screen.

In a paper published in the journal Applied Physics Letters, the Cincinnati team discuss a greyscale screen rather than a colour one, and one that's not yet able to update sufficiently quickly to do video.

University of Cincinnate EF display

The test pixel array

Their test display has 450µm pixels, which are large, but they calculate that if they can get the pixel size down to 150µm, the speed at which the fluids can move - essentially the pixel switch speed - will be "consistent with video rate operation", ie. 20ms.

Such as screen, they believe, can be produced in existing LCD plants, saving manufacturers from the need to build new factories fitted with new tools - all at significant cost. So the screens, if they come to mass-production, should be cheap too. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
End of buttons? Apple looks to patent animating iPhone sidewalls
Filing suggests handset with display strips
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.