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October 12, 1999

Lucent and E Ink to Develop ‘Electronic Paper’

By CBR Staff Writer

Lucent Technologies Inc and E Ink Corp are developing an electronic display that they claim could one day replace paper as the medium for the ‘printed word’. The firms are working together on ‘Electronic Paper’, which is envisaged as a flexible plastic sheet display that can be updated instantaneously via a computer link.

The elements of electronic paper would be plastic transistors, developed at Lucent’s Bell Labs, which have the same properties as conventional silicon chips but are flexible and can be imprinted, and E Ink’s electronic ink. Electronic ink is comprised of millions of tiny capsules filled with a dark dye and light pigment. When charged by the electric field created by the plastic transistors, the capsules will change color and create images. The objective of the collaboration is to print the plastic transistors onto a flexible plastic film coated with electronic ink.

The two companies are not the only firms examining the possibility of developing electronic paper. IBM Corp also mocked up some plastic newspaper-like displays earlier this year, but said at the time that the ideas were in the realms of blue-sky technology. Lucent and E Ink have not given any time frame for when – if at all – they expect electronic paper to appear on the market.

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