Electronic Ink

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What Does Electronic Ink Mean?

Electronic Ink (E Ink) is a proprietary electrophoretic technology and electronic paper display (EPD) patented by E Ink Corporation.

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E Ink technology is used in mobile devices, such as e-readers, mobile devices, smartphones, smart cards and watches. E Ink is primarily used in digital e-readers. Most digital books use grayscale and rarely use color.

Techopedia Explains Electronic Ink

E Ink is the optical element of EPD film and has billions of microscopic microcapsules containing negatively charged black particles and positively charged white particles suspended in a clear fluid. The combined particles are subject to electrical impulses. When a positive/negative impulse occurs, matching particles move to the top of the display and are visible to users. Text and image display is facilitated by charge patterns.

Originally, E Ink was only available in monochrome, but color E Ink became available in 2010. Most current devices are built with 16-level grayscale and 4096 color E Ink.

E Ink display is widely preferred because it closely resembles printed paper display. E Ink displays are easier on the eyes and they feature lower power consumption, especially when compared with conventional backlit liquid crystal displays (LCD). These positive aspects, in addition to adoption by key e-reader brands, including Sony and Amazon, has helped E Ink find strong footing in the market. Although E Ink is not supposed to provide a substitute for conventional ink and paper, it has the potential to transform the publishing industry by saving paper.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.