Feeds

Boffins build acme e-paper screen

Electrofluidic panel cheap, clean, colour and video capable

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
Intel's LAME DUCK mobile chips gobbled by CASH COW
Chipzilla won't have money-losing mobe unit to kick about anymore
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
Ford's B-Max: Fiesta-based runaround that goes THUNK
... when you close the slidey doors, that is ...
Disturbance in the force lets phones detect gestures with Wi-Fi
These are the movement detection devices you're looking for
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?