October 12, 2011 — ITRI, Industrial Technology Research Institute of Taiwan, introduced i2R e-Paper, a re-writeable, re-usable, LCD-based electronic paper medium that can be manufactured in a variety of sizes.
The e-paper is a flexible cholesteric liquid crystal display (LCD) that uses heat to store and transit images. It avoids use of electronic inks. The product is very bendable. Because cholesteric liquid crystal is a reflective display technology, it uses ambient light rather than backlighting. No power is consumed to maintain a display. Colors are produced by adding different pitch spherical composite ion-exchangers.
i2R e-Paper delivers 300dpi resolution. The paper targets initial applications in advertising banners, corporate visitor ID badges, transit passes, etc. Follow-on applications include digital books and pictorials, wall banners, large-size electronic bulletin boards, etc.
Water-solvent marker pens can be used on the paper and easily washed off. To print and change content, users need a thermal printer fitted with a thermal head. Re-use erases the old image and prints a new one with no inks or toner. Production costs are low, ITRI says, and single units can be re-written up to 260 times. More development work is underway to increase this re-use factor.
ITRI is licensing and transferring i2R e-Paper technology to manufacturers producing consumer e-paper and thermal writer machines. Recently, ITRI completed an industry science and technology program with four material manufacturers and five equipment operators, and the technology has also been transferred to one of Taiwan’s top chemical engineering manufacturers for trial mass production.
ITRI has applied for 17 patents for i2R e-Paper, 8 of which have been granted. ITRI is in the process of licensing the technology in Taiwan and is currently in talks with US companies as well.
Watch a video on how e-paper differs from paper here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nur36P3fDYU
Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is a nonprofit R&D organization performing applied research and technical services in 6 core laboratories, 3 focus centers, 5 linkage centers, and many labs and business development units. ITRI concentrates on Information and Communication; Electronics and Optoelectronics; Material, Chemical and Nanotechnologies; Biomedical Technologies and Device; Advanced Manufacturing and Systems; and Green Energy and Environment. Learn more at www.itri.org.tw/eng.