Video-speed electronic paper based on electrowetting

Nature. 2003 Sep 25;425(6956):383-5. doi: 10.1038/nature01988.


In recent years, a number of different technologies have been proposed for use in reflective displays. One of the most appealing applications of a reflective display is electronic paper, which combines the desirable viewing characteristics of conventional printed paper with the ability to manipulate the displayed information electronically. Electronic paper based on the electrophoretic motion of particles inside small capsules has been demonstrated and commercialized; but the response speed of such a system is rather slow, limited by the velocity of the particles. Recently, we have demonstrated that electrowetting is an attractive technology for the rapid manipulation of liquids on a micrometre scale. Here we show that electrowetting can also be used to form the basis of a reflective display that is significantly faster than electrophoretic displays, so that video content can be displayed. Our display principle utilizes the voltage-controlled movement of a coloured oil film adjacent to a white substrate. The reflectivity and contrast of our system approach those of paper. In addition, we demonstrate a colour concept, which is intrinsically four times brighter than reflective liquid-crystal displays and twice as bright as other emerging technologies. The principle of microfluidic motion at low voltages is applicable in a wide range of electro-optic devices.