Dennis Faas's picture

Electronic paper, also called ePaper, is a display technology designed to mimic the appearance of ordinary ink on paper.

Electrophoretic displays are considered prime examples of the electronic paper category, because of their paper-like appearance and low power consumption.

Unlike a conventional flat panel display, which uses a backlight to illuminate its pixels, electronic paper reflects light like ordinary paper and is capable of holding text and images indefinitely without drawing electricity, while allowing the image to be changed later.

Easy Viewing

ePaper is considered more comfortable to read than conventional displays. This is due to the stable image, which does not need to be refreshed constantly, the wider viewing angle, and the fact that it reflects ambient light rather than emitting its own light.


To build ePaper, several different technologies exist; some use plastic substrate and electronics so that the display is flexible. While it is lightweight and durable, it still lacks good color reproduction.


Applications include e-book readers capable of displaying digital versions of books and ePaper magazines, electronic pricing labels in retail shops, time tables at bus stations, electronic billboards, and the mobile phone Motorola FONE F3.

Examples of commercial electrophoretic displays include the high-resolution active matrix displays used in the Amazon Kindle, Sony Librie, Sony Reader, and iRex iLiad e-readers.

These displays are constructed from an electrophoretic imaging film manufactured by E Ink Corporation. The Motorola MOTOFONE F3 was the first mobile phone to use the technology, in an effort to help eliminate glare from direct sunlight during outdoor use.

ePaper: Brief History and Technology

Electronic paper was first developed in the 1970s by Nick Sheridon at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center and was known as "Gyricon."

In the 1990s another type of electronic paper was invented by Joseph Jacobson, who later co-founded the E Ink Corporation which formed a partnership with Philips Components two years later to develop and market the technology.

In 2005, Philips sold the electronic paper business as well as its related patents to Prime View International. This used tiny microcapsules filled with electrically charged white particles suspended in a colored oil.

ePaper: Disadvantages

Electronic paper technologies have a very low refresh rate comparing with LCD technologies.

This prevents producers from implementing sophisticated interactive applications (using fast moving menus, mouse pointers or scrolling) like those which are possible on handheld computers. This has a major impact on the ePaper capacity to display zoomed version of large text or images on a small display.

This document is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), which means that you can copy and modify it as long as the entire work (including additions) remains under this license.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet