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Function-oriented Knowledge Base \ Electronic paper \ Improve image quality of paper-like display

Liquid droplet provides sheet display

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As a variation of electronic paper, a conventional gyricon display possesses numerous advantages of common paper, such as high brightness in ambient light, archival memory without energy consumption, image replacement and flexibility. However, a gyricon display (specifically, a color display) is incapable of changing images as rapidly as a common display (for example, an LCD) due to the large amount of time required to switch bichromal balls from one state into another. It is necessary to provide a sheet display exhibiting rapid color switching.
To provide a sheet display with rapid color switching, replacing a solid bichromal rotating ball by a liquid droplet is proposed. A pixel element contains a droplet of a dyed polar liquid such as water. The droplet is connected to a wettable electrode. The droplet, positioned on the surface of an insulator layer, does not wet the material of the latter. A lower electrode is placed on the opposite surface of the insulator layer. The display operates upon the basis of the electrocapillary effect (electrowetting). An addressing voltage is applied to each droplet through the wettable electrodes. When the potential difference is applied to the wettable electrode and the lower electrode, the droplet is charged and has a potential opposite to the potential of the lower electrode. A droplet with the opposite charge is driven to the lower electrode. This causes the contact angle of the droplet to decrease. As the contact angle is decreased, the droplet is deformed and spreads over the surface of the insulator layer. When the electrode and the droplet are discharged, the droplet regains its ball-like shape. The deformation of the droplet is substantially rapid, so a change in the surface area occupied by the colored droplet also occurs in a short period of time. Therefore, a liquid droplet provides a sheet display with rapid color switching.
Additional information
The voltage may be either alternating or direct. The insulator (for example) is a parylene film overcoated by an FC723 film. The liquid in the cavities (for example) is silicone oil. When voltage applied to a droplet ranges from 30 to 40 volts, the droplet changes its original surface area by a factor of 20. The produced electrocapillary display sheet can retain an image due to the capacitively-stored charge of the droplet or by a thixotropic liquid in the space above the droplet. The color display can form color images by alternately replacing the pixel color with the color of any of the three droplets, each having one of the three primary colors.
US Patent 5659330; Link >>
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