101 Guide: What Is E-Ink: History, Benefits, and Applications  

E-readers were heralded as a game-changing invention more than ten years ago because they promised outstanding energy efficiency and a screen that looked just like real paper. Instead, the market decided that multifunctional smartphones and tablets offered more flexibility and were thus preferred. But when e-ink technology developed, it started to provide unique qualities worth taking into account. Compared to conventional display technologies like LCD and LED, electronic paper or e-ink displays have many advantages. Consequently, e-ink display technology is widely used in a variety of industries. However, what is e-ink technology, and how does it operate?

Readers will be able to gain a thorough understanding of what is e-ink through this blog, as well as knowledge of its benefits and uses.

History Of E-Ink Display

E-Ink is a commercial technology held by the E-Ink Corporation, even though it has evolved into a general term for displays. It was created in 1996 by a team of engineers and scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab. These scientists established the business that holds the e-ink patent in 1997. 

Due to the popularity of e-books, particularly with major online book retailers like Amazon and Kobo, E-Ink later gained widespread usage. To go along with the digital books they sell, these businesses have released their e-ink readers, sometimes known as eReaders. E-Ink can also be used in digital tablets, smartphones, and notebooks.

Since the introduction of the E-Ink Vizplex in its initial generation in 2007, the company has undergone numerous modifications. The E-ink Pearl, which hit mass market adoption in 2010, was the first e-ink display to accomplish so. This technology is present in many of the most popular eReaders. Since then, several variations have been made, including the E-Ink Kaleido, which employs a color filter to display a spectrum of colors, and the E-Ink Carta, which utilizes a high-contrast, high-resolution display.

Since then, e-ink has been used to create multiple types of products. Signages, digital price labels, tags, creative retail display ideas, etc., are different types of uses for e-ink display.

What Is E-Ink?

Zhsunyco E ink srceen
Source: Zhsunyco E-ink srceen

An electromagnetic field can cause a special kind of ink called electronic ink to change hues. It is created using a two-step procedure that involves producing charged particles with two colors and encasing them in a transparent polymeric shell. While waiting for the ink to be applied to a surface, the created nanoparticle shells are suspended in a solvent. 

Electronic ink is very beneficial since it can convert from white to black or vice versa anytime needed. Nowadays, E-paper screen can display other colors, like yellow and red. It is possible to program electronic ink to show different phrases or images on a book or other surface. Instead of emitting light, e-ink displays reflect it, making them incredibly comfortable to read even in bright sunshine. They have a broad viewing angle, high reflectivity, excellent contrast, readability, and low power consumption, which makes them very popular.

How Does E Ink Work?

E Ink Working principle
Source: iStock

E-ink technology is also a “bistable” technology since it depends on a binary reaction sparked by various electric charges. This is the essential characteristic of e-ink displays since stability means that after black ink particles are guided there, they stay in place. In other words, whatever shape they ultimately compose—text or image—needs no more electricity to be maintained. 

A clear fluid-filled microcapsule makes up the display. Millions of capsules are displayed in a row. Each microcapsule contains two kinds of small ink particles: white pigment and black pigment and has a diameter comparable to a hair strand. White pigment particles are positively charged, while black pigment particles are negatively charged.

Additionally, bistable e-ink panels do not have emissive displays in conventional LCD or OLED screens. Instead of using a backlight, which constantly has to draw energy from an electricity source, to generate the display, e-ink displays are reflective. E-readers are the most similar books in existence because of this capability. 

On the other hand, LCD screens are seldom visible in direct sunshine. Because they are reflective, e-ink screens are easier to see in bright sunlight, just like reading a paper book would be. Because being able to simulate the sensation of reading an actual book is a great marketing tool, Amazon’s most well-known e-reader is the Kindle Paperwhite. Retail stores also use e-ink displays created by LCD panel manufacturers for shelves and product displays.

Application Of Electronic Paper

What is an e-paper display”? E-ink displays are also known as e-paper displays. E-ink signs with more sophisticated solutions are now accessible, enabling establishments to bring modern signage into the next era and assisting consumers in making better judgments with a clear vision.

1. Room Signs and Smart Home Devices

e ink product
Source: iStock

Real-time information, including weather forecasts, can be shown on an e-ink display in a smart home with Wi-Fi. Being electricity-free is a benefit of the technique. Digital room signs are also made with e-ink, making it simple for visitors to navigate a space.

2. Indoor Digital Signs

Zhsunyco e ink used for door sign
Source: Zhsunyco

Huge electronic ink screens are employed indoors for improved aesthetic value and to allow viewers to see the content even from a distance. It also canbe used to make digital door signs.

3. Menu Boards

Zhsunyco Electronic Menu
Source: Zhsunyco

The menu boards in restaurants, grocery stores, and other eating businesses are fantastic places to use E-ink. Unlike modern LCDs, which have shiny front glass that produces unwelcome glare and light reflections, making it more challenging for customers to comprehend the signage’s text.

4. Electronic Price Tags

Zhsunyco Electronic Shelf Tags
Source: Zhsunyco electronic shelf labels

One of the key elements used in the production of electronic shelf labels by electronic shelf labels manufacturers is e-ink. It is used to display information in legible fonts to improve the user experience for both customers and workers. ESLs allow merchants to wirelessly, quickly, and effectively update the information on shelf labels, doing away with the requirement to print labels in paper forms or hiring workers to replace paper labels on storefronts. Examples of its use include digital office signage and electronic price tags in supermarkets.

5. Patient Door and Care Signs

Zhsunyco Electronic Menu 2
Source: Zhsunyco

E-ink door signs may now wirelessly connect to hospitals and healthcare facilities to update and transmit patient data in real-time. E-ink care signs can automatically show patient information such as allergy precautions or limitations, medical alarms, and pertinent patient records. Mutual trust, better healthcare conditions, and the effectiveness of the medical personnel all depend on effective and timely doctor-patient communication.

6. E-Books

The most popular e-paper application is for e-books. Electronic paper display technology is frequently used in e-readers due to its high reflectivity, wider viewing angle, and incredibly low power consumption.

7. Direction Sign

Zhsunyco e ink for Direction Sign
Source: Zhsunyco

There are numerous locations where we can employ electronic ink as wayfinding signage. It is utilized as tourist information in smart cities, but we can also locate it inside the structures. E-ink can be used by museums, airports, retail malls, etc., to guide tourists. It doesn’t incur any additional fees and is simple to maintain. Additionally, the image is easily adjustable, which is especially helpful in settings like museums where exhibits are frequently transient.

Types Of Electronic Paper Display (E-Paper)

Non Flexible Electronic Ink Display
Source: iStock

There are two types of e-paper displays known now. 

  1. Flexible Electronic Paper Display: These e-paper displays are bendable and can be used like real paper. E-paper’s thinness and flexibility make it ideal for novel uses in curved and folding displays.
  2. Non-Flexible Electronic Paper Display: These e-paper displays are as stiff as a mobile screen.

Benefits Of E Ink Display

Easy to read e ink in sunlight
Source: iStock

Despite significant advancements, traditional displays like LCD, LED, and others still have a responsiveness advantage over e-ink displays. In addition to a few seconds to rouse them from sleep mode, consumers claim that e-ink displays take 10 to 15 seconds to power up fully. Here are some advantages of an e-ink display.

  • It looks Like Real Paper.

The main benefit of e-ink is, in any case, found there. Users can’t go wrong with a gadget like the Kindle Paperwhite if they want a display that closely resembles the one they get while reading a newspaper or an actual paper book.

  • Lower Energy Consumption

Due to their lower power requirements than other panel types, such as LCDs, e-ink displays consume less energy. This is accomplished such that the e-ink only uses energy when the image on the screen is altered. On the other hand, LCDs require power to keep their displays lit. This makes e-ink displays a far more affordable choice, especially for devices like e-readers that are used continuously. LCD screen supplier also uses e-ink display technology to make it more appealing to consumers.

  • High Resolution

Most current e-ink displays can offer 171 pixels per inch, comparable to LCD displays now on the market. But compared to LCD or OLED display modules, these reflective displays are easier to view in natural light and sunlight.

  • Readability

E-ink can be viewed clearly in both direct sunshine and intense room lighting; it is clearest in direct sunlight when it reflects the most light. This feature of e-ink has made it the technology of choice for e-readers because the human eye is designed to receive and comprehend reflected light, not bright screens. 

E-ink displays are also easily viewed from nearly 180 degrees of viewing angle because they operate by reflected light. E-paper also makes for simpler reading. There is no “flicker,” which can lead to eye fatigue, unlike conventional backlit screens. A user’s eye does not have to work as hard to accurately perceive images on the screens because they are not coated in shiny glass or film that could produce glare.

  • Environment-Friendly

Paper price tags are less environmentally friendly than e-ink. E-ink technology, for instance, can assist businesses in cutting costs like printing when they want to lessen their carbon imprint. In-store personnel no longer need to work extra hours to change paper price tags thanks to e-ink, which also saves energy and lowers carbon emissions. When they finally reach the end of their useful life, e-ink screens can be recycled and repurposed. Most screens are recyclable, eco-friendly, and practical, all of which contribute to excellent paper and energy savings and lower carbon emissions.

  • Flexible

E-ink displays can be applied in several situations because they are also versatile. E-ink, for instance, is being utilized to create smartwatches and other wearable technology.

The idea of sustainable development is being adopted by more and more businesses, and the trend toward decarbonization in different industries will intensify and benefit the advancement of sustainable development worldwide. Implementing e-paper solutions is an effective technique for various businesses to advance their sustainability policies in the future. Contact Zhsunyco ESL tag manufacturer for the most incredible quality displays for your business.

Limitations of E-Paper

Using e paper for alarm clock
Source: Zhsunyco

The Electronic Paper Display has the following flaws or shortcomings:

  • Low Refresh Frequency

 One of the E-ink’s flaws is how slowly it refreshes the screen. The process of updating e-ink displays can therefore be time-consuming. It is not enough to display dynamic video. For instance, changing black to white on an e-ink display could take several seconds. Users who are accustomed to the instant gratification provided by LCD screens may find this annoying. But since they only regularly change the image on the screen when reading text, people won’t notice the low refresh rate as much.

  • Confined Color Scheme

Another drawback is that e-ink is mainly displayed in black and white. While some devices employ color e-ink, they are less prevalent than those with monochrome screens. The color is actually relatively monotonous. This restriction results from the way e-ink functions. The colors that can be exhibited are constrained by the fact that the pigments in e-ink can only be orientated in two ways. However, the black-and-white color scheme is more than sufficient for many users. And because it might lessen eye strain, some users enjoy it.

Raw Materials Of Electronic Ink

Electronic ink is made using a variety of raw ingredients. 

  • Polymers

High molecular weight substances known as polymers are constructed from monomers that have been chemically joined. The charged, colored components of the electronic ink are created using polyethylene, polyvinylidene fluoride, or other appropriate polymers. These substances are advantageous because they can be heated to become liquids, chilled to become solids and sustain stable, long-lasting dipoles. To change the physical properties of the polymers, manufacturers add filler elements. 

  • Colorants

Colorants are added to polymers, typically colorless, to create the contrast required for electronic ink. These could be dissolved dyes or powdered colors. An inorganic substance, such as titanium dioxide, may be used to create a white color. The creation of other hues like yellow, red, and brown is possible with iron oxides.

  • Plasticizers And Stabilizers

Plasticizers and other fillers can be added to polymers to change their electrical properties. This is crucial for electronic ink in particular. Heat is applied to the polymer during manufacturing. Manufacturers use stabilizers to stop it from degrading because of this. Unsaturated oils, such as soybean oil, are used as heat stabilizers.

  • Protectors

Protective substances include UV blockers like benzophenones and antioxidants to protect outdoor digital signage. Both of these compounds aid in reducing environmental oxidation and UV damage.

The Manufacturing Process Of E-Ink

Zhsunyco epaper
Source: Zhsunyco

There is a step-by-step process to create electronic ink. First, the charges of two opposing inks are switched. The inks are applied to the chosen surface while still enclosed in conductive microspheres. 

Each step of the production process is under surveillance for quality assurance of the electronic ink. Electronic ink is not produced in massive, brisk volumes because it is a relatively new technology. The ability to properly test each step before moving on to the next is made possible. Reviewing the arriving raw materials is the first step in the inspection process. After completion, the electronic ink is tested to ensure it will respond to an electric field appropriately.

Can You See E-Ink in The Dark? 

e paper display in the library
Source: iStock

Unlike LCD screens, which need backlights to function, e-ink displays don’t. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. E-ink displays more accurately simulate the feeling of reading and writing on paper because there is no backlight, which is a benefit. When reading outside, users don’t have to worry about glare because they are gentle on the eyes.

Additionally, it increases the battery life of E-ink displays. While LCD panels typically only last a few days, e-ink devices may frequently last for weeks without a charge. Because of their construction, the E-ink company creates e-ink displays that are more durable than their LCD equivalents—at least if the maker chooses to use a plastic-based TFT rather than a glass one.

E-ink screens can be challenging to use in low light, which is a drawback. You should either sit under a lamp or purchase an e-reader with a built-in light source if you wish to read or draw in low light at night.

Advanced Color E-paper

Zhsunyco Colored e ink display
Source: Zhsunyco e-ink

The most recent version of E Ink’s Advanced Color ePaper (ACeP) platform is now in the market. E Ink is the inventor, pioneer, and market leader in digital paper technology. ACeP makes use of the same reflective technology as the E-paper display. But instead of using black and white, the tiny color beads in the microcapsules are colorful. 

The colorful pigment-containing microcapsules can be selectively activated using dedicated drive mechanisms at various voltage levels. The main benefit of ACeP technology remains its incredibly low power usage. Bistable displays don’t need an energy source in their two stable states; the microcapsules only need energy when the pigment state changes.

The fact that e-ink uses a pigment display rather than an emissive screen, which would otherwise be a drawback, is a benefit for individuals who need to replace hundreds of dollars worth of physical books with a beautiful, tiny, light device that uses very little power. Even while a reader can use a smartphone screen to read e-books, e-readers are a better option for reading large amounts of material. Similarly, the comic book industry can entirely migrate to digital form by introducing colorized e-reader models, reducing the carbon footprint required to transport and process trees. 

Buy From Reliable E-Ink Display Manufacturer – Zhsunyco

Businesses should buy e-ink displays from a reliable e-ink display manufacturer like Zhsunyco. Over the years, Zhsunyco distinguished itself from other producers of e-ink displays by specializing in offering comprehensive service for more than 180 countries, including hardware and software development as well as distinctive after-sale solutions. 

 With 11 Invention Patents and 0.0018% Defective Rate of E-ink screens, we guaranteed innovative and top-of-the-line products for clients’ Epaper displays. Contact Zhsunyco for the best e-ink displays for your business. Contact Zhsunyco for the best e-ink displays for your business.


  • What function does E-Ink serve?

E-ink is transformed into a film, then incorporated into digital price tags, electronic displays to enable cutting-edge uses in phones, wearable technology, e-readers, etc.

  • Is E-Ink good for your eyes?

Because the e-ink closely matches the ink on printed paper, it produces less glare and causes less eye strain. Like an LCD panel, an E-ink display’s light does not directly shine into your eyes. The print is easier to view in bright light, which reduces the strain on your eyes to maintain concentration.

  • What advantages does e-ink offer?

Because they mimic printed paper, e-ink displays are particularly well-liked. They have better readability than other display kinds, a long battery life, are simple to operate, and reduce labor expenses and the need to produce paper signs and announcements.

  • What benefit does an e-paper have over an LCD that is the most notable?

Electronic paper readability is similar to paper, yet it uses incredibly little power compared to conventional LCD panels. By simulating paper rather than a computer screen, e-paper lessens eyestrain.

  • Why is E-Ink popular?

Due to their resemblance to printed paper, e-ink displays are prevalent. They have better readability than other display kinds, a long battery life, are simple to use, and reduce the need for paper signs and notices while also being easier on the eyes.

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