Fujitsu Shows 'Electronic Paper' Display

The film-based, flexible color display is different from flat screens and could replace paper in a number of applications, from information boards and posters to point-of-purchase tags.
TOKYO — Fujitsu has developed a film-based flexible color display with non-volatile capability to maintain an image without a power supply.

Fujitsu, which is demonstrating the display at a corporate exhibition here this week, said the display requires only power to change images, thus making it energy efficient.

The electronic display could replace paper in a number of applications, according to Fujitsu, ranging from information boards, billboards, posters to menus at restaurants to point-of-purchase tags.

The display uses passive-matrix, reflective type cholesteric liquid crystal technology. Two 3.8-inch diagonal QVGA prototypes, a monochrome display and a color version able to display 512 colors, were shown.

Differing from flat displays that have color filters comprising red, green and blue pixels, the paper display has a three-layer structure measuring 0.8 mm thick. One layer consists of two 0.125 mm-thick films sandwiching liquid crystal. Cholesteric crystals in each layer are twisted in a certain pitch to reflect only red, green or blue light respectively.

Images on the screen can be changed with 10-milliwatts to 100-milliwatts depending on scanning speed.

Fujitsu's display is able to retain its image even when it is bent, said a spokesman of Fujitsu Labs. Conventional flexible display prototypes lose the screen image when being bent, but a Fujitsu team has invented a material and structure that retains the image, said the spokesman. He declined to give details.

As the display is a simple passive matrix type, driver chips are available off-the-shelf, so there are no big factors to drive up the display's cost, the spokesman said.

Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., Fujitsu Frontech Ltd. and parent Fujitsu teamed to develop the display. Fujitsu Labs developed materials and display technology while Fujitsu Frontech contributed on production.

The team will continue working to enlarge the display and develop full color versions.

Fujitsu Ltd. intends to introduce paper display products in its fiscal 2006 year ending March 2007. The company has begun test marketing and field tests to find commercial applications.

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