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Printed Electronics World
Posted on December 13, 2004 by  & 

Plastic Logic and E Ink preview flexible displays

In December 2004, Plastic Logic of Cambridge, UK and E Ink of Cambridge, MA, USA announced a non-exclusive agreement to co-operate on the design and fabrication of flexible all-plastic electronic displays.
 
 
source: Plastic Logic
 
E Ink, the leading developer and marketer of electronic paper display technology, and Plastic Logic, the leading developer of printed flexible thin film transistor (TFT) arrays, agreed to combine their technologies to produce high-resolution active-matrix displays suitable for a range of applications from smart cards and cell phones to wireless electronic readers (e.g. e-books, e-maps, e-newspapers).
Stuart Evans, CEO of Plastic Logic said, "We are working with E Ink and product manufacturers to demonstrate the astonishing user value of flexible displays. Advances in device architectures, direct-write processing and solution processable materials have brought the high-volume manufacture of flexible displays at consumer price-points within grasp. The industry has long been seeking an answer to the challenge of fabricating transistors on flexible substrates that distort during processing. We are delighted to have developed a low cost solution for this."
 
 
"As an innovator in the field of flexible microelectronics and materials, Plastic Logic has made tremendous recent progress," said Russ Wilcox, CEO of E Ink. "This now allows us to jointly demonstrate a paper-like electronic display with outstanding resolution, brightness and contrast that can be produced economically to enable wide adoption."
 
The liquid crystal active-matrix displays (AM-LCDs) that are commercially available today are produced with two sheets of heavy, fragile glass that can break when dropped. In contrast, the E Ink and Plastic Logic displays are flexible, thin, light-weight, bright, high contrast and shatterproof. The combination of imaging film from E Ink and backplanes fabricated using Plastic Logic's process will enable:
 
  • High resolution: 100dpi in 2005 (up to 150dpi in 2006)
  • Large Area: A5 in 2005 (148x210mm), up to A4 (210x297mm) in 2006
  • Greyscale: 4 levels
  • Multi-level pixel structure (leading to High Aperture Radio/Fill Factor)
  • High-contrast reflective with paper-white background (sun-light readable)
  • Ultra-low power consumption (bistable)
  • Bend radius: < 2cm radius of curvature
 
E Ink and Plastic Logic displays have an additional advantage - they can be produced at low cost in high volume. This contrasts with today's glass active-matrix displays which are expensive because they require multiple vacuum deposition and high-precision lithographic steps.
 
 
Plastic Logic's manufacturing process enables active matrix backplanes to be 'printed' using additive solution-processing and direct-write techniques. The company is currently expanding its existing plastic electronics mini-fab by installing a 350mm by 350mm prototype line which it will use to work with device-makers to demonstrate advanced product prototypes. It is also evaluating manufacturing partners for production scale-up in 2007.
 
E Ink provides electronic ink in sheets of imaging film that are ideally suited for flexible display applications due to their thin form factor and inherent flexibility. E Ink's electronic ink is an image stable reflective display technology that uses ultra-low power but is easily read under any lighting condition including direct sunlight. Unlike liquid crystal displays, the image on E Ink displays looks the same from all viewing angles and will not distort when touched or flexed, making electronic ink the ideal display medium for flexible displays and portable devices.
 
E Ink® Imaging Film entered mass production in 2004 as an enabling component in the revolutionary SONY LIBRIé electronic reading device currently available in Japan. E Ink can also directly supply low-resolution, all-plastic numeric and segmented display cells for a wide range of OEM applications.
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