Pick up most eReaders on the market today and the screens tend to use similar tech. According to the American Institute of Physics, the majority of those eReader screens use electrophoretic displays. Each pixel in this style of screen has black and white particles moving in opposite directions under the control of an electric field.
The problem is that these screens have a low switching speed, which makes things like video on the typical eReader impossible. Another drawback is that the technology produces text that is more grey on white than black on white.
According to the AIP researchers at the University of Cincinnati Nanoelectronics Laboratory are actively working on a new breed of screens for eReaders and other devices that will support features like video and touch among others. The assessment of the technology for future displays will be published in American Institute of Physics’ Applied Physics Letters.
The tech uses a concept of stacked electrowetting devices with an electric field that controls the wetting properties of a fluoropolymer surface. This technique allows for rapid manipulation of liquid on a very small scale. Screens that use the tech can be used in both reflective and transmissive modes allowing them to be used in a broad range of scenarios. The screens also need “fairly low” driving volts in the 15V range. The researchers have used the stacked technique to demonstrate a multi-color ePaper display so far and are working to improve the tech further.