E Ink and Sharp Display Technology Corporation collaborate on next generation of ePaper


E Ink Holdings Inc. (Billerica, Massachusetts), the originator, pioneer, and global commercial leader in digital paper technology, and Sharp Display Technology Corporation, a leading company in the field of displays, have announced their collaboration and the adoption of SDTC’s indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) backplanes for ePaper modules used in eReader and eNote products.

E Ink has been developing the use of oxide thin film transistors (TFTs) for electrophoretic technology for over ten years, and will expand its ePaper product portfolio based on using oxide TFTs. Sharp was the first to mass produce oxide TFTs for displays in 2012. Oxide TFTs have high mobility (a measure of how easily an electron moves in a particular material) and low leak current in the transistors, with a result that smaller transistors can be used to provide the same current. In a display, this means a faster switching speed is possible and lower power consumption, contributing to a sustainable environment. E Ink and SDTC have been working together for two years to bring oxide TFTs for ePaper displays into the market.

“Joining forces with SDTC further demonstrates E Ink’s commitment to enhance ePaper display performance,” said Johnson Lee, CEO of E Ink. “SDTC’s vision is to develop an oxide TFT technology that can service different types of displays and circuits, and SDTC is committed to continue to invest in the development of oxide TFTs. E Ink looks forward to our partnership with SDTC.”

“SDTC is excited that E Ink chose SDTC as an oxide TFT partner to bring the next generation of ePaper displays to market,” said Chien-Erh Wang, president of SDTC. “SDTC is the market leader and pioneer in oxide TFT research and development and is also the first display company that has mass produced oxide TFTs. E Ink is the market leader in ePaper displays, and the joining of these two companies is a natural progression.”

In the past five years, 130 million eReaders have been in use globally, replacing the purchase of paper editions of books. It is estimated that paper books would emit more than 100 000 times CO2 vs. eReaders would have contributed significantly to the reduction of CO2 emissions throughout that time. Migrating colour content to eReaders would have a large impact on the environment.

Going forward, E Ink and SDTC will explore the use of IGZO for larger sizes for signage applications in retail and transportation. In addition, Sharp Group will also consider collaborative models with E Ink for various ePaper applications.

Caption: A display with E Ink technology (photo: E Ink)

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