Ultra-thin screen is step towards electronic newspaper



An ultra-thin screen that can display electronic text while being bent, twisted or even rolled up has been developed by scientists.

The material stops short of being a true electronic newspaper since it cannot be folded in half.

But it is the most significant step yet towards practical e-papers and wearable computer screens.

The screen is only as thick as three human hairs and displays black text on a whitish-grey background, with a resolution similar to that of a typical laptop.

It is so flexible it can be rolled into a cylinder about half an inch wide without losing any image quality.

Yu Chen and colleagues at the E Ink Corporation in Cambridge, Massachusetts, described the development in the journal Nature.

The screen, which is less than 0.3 millimetres thick, was made using a foil topped with a thin layer of transistor circuits. These supply opposing voltages to different areas of an overlying film of special electronic ink.

The ink consists of millions of tiny capsules of charge-sensitive black or white pigment. A negative voltage causes the white particles to move to the surface, while a positive one brings up the black ones.

The resulting patterns of black or white topped capsules are what creates the text.