US 20100156780 A1
A method for manufacturing a full color, reflective display includes the steps of depositing a first plurality of electrophoretic display elements in substantial registration with a first electrode and a second plurality of electrophoretic display elements in substantial registration with a second electrode. The electrophoretic display elements include a capsule containing a species of particles dispersed in a suspending fluid. The selective deposition of the display elements can be achieved by ink jet printing methods, screen printing methods or other printing methods. In some embodiments the electrodes are printed onto the substrate before selective deposition of the display elements, while in other embodiments the substrate is provided having the electrodes already disposed on it. In still other embodiments, the sequence of printing of electrodes and electrophoretic display elements can be varied.
1. A method of manufacturing a color electrophoretic display comprising the steps of:
(a) providing a first reflective surface comprising a first color;
(b) depositing a first electrophoretic display element in substantial registration with said first reflective surface, said first display element being capable of switching between said first color and a second color when addressed;
(c) providing a second reflective surface comprising a third color; and
(b) depositing a second electrophoretic display element in substantial registration with said second reflective surface, said second display element being capable of switching between said third color and a fourth color when addressed, and at least one of said third and fourth colors is neither said first color nor said second color.
2. A method according to
(e) providing a third reflective surface comprising a fifth color; and
(b) depositing a third electrophoretic display element in substantial registration with said third reflective surface, said third display element being capable of switching between said fifth color and a sixth color when addressed, and thereby providing a full color display.
3. A color electrophoretic display comprising:
a display element having a viewing surface and a rear surface on opposed sides of the display element, said display element comprising a plurality of a first species of electrophoretic particles having a first color and a plurality of a second species of electrophoretic particles having a second color different from the first color;
a colored surface disposed adjacent said rear surface of said display element, said colored surface having a third color different from said first and second colors, said display element having a first state in which said plurality of said first species of particles lie adjacent said viewing surface and said first color is displayed, a second state in which said second species of particles lie adjacent said viewing surface and said second color is displayed, and a third state in which said colored surface is visible through said viewing surface and said third color is displayed.
4. The color electrophoretic display of
5. The color electrophoretic display of
6. The color electrophoretic display of
7. The color electrophoretic display of
8. The color electrophoretic display of
9. The color electrophoretic display of
10. The color electrophoretic display of
a second display element having a viewing surface and a rear surface on opposed sides of said second display element, said second display element comprising a plurality of a third species of electrophoretic particles having a fourth color and a plurality of a fourth species of electrophoretic particles having a fifth color different from the fourth color; and
a second colored surface disposed adjacent the rear surface of said second display element, said second colored surface having a sixth color different from said fourth and fifth colors, at least one of the fourth, fifth and sixth colors being different from all of the first, second and third colors,
said second display element having a first state in which said plurality of said third species of particles lie adjacent said viewing surface and said fourth color is displayed, a second state in which said fourth species of particles lie adjacent said viewing surface and said fifth color is displayed, and a third state in which said second colored surface is visible through said viewing surface and said sixth color is displayed.
11. The color electrophoretic display of
a third display element having a viewing surface and a rear surface on opposed sides of said third display element, said third display element comprising a plurality of a fifth species of electrophoretic particles having a seventh color and a plurality of a sixth species of electrophoretic particles having a eighth color different from the seventh color; and
a third colored surface disposed adjacent the rear surface of said third display element, said third colored surface having a ninth color different from said seventh and eighth colors, at least one of the seventh, eighth and ninth colors being different from all of the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth colors,
said third display element having a first state in which said plurality of said fifth species of particles lie adjacent said viewing surface and said seventh color is displayed, a second state in which said sixth species of particles lie adjacent said viewing surface and said eighth color is displayed, and a third state in which said third colored surface is visible through said viewing surface and said ninth color is displayed.
This application is a continuation of copending application Ser. No. 10/817,464, filed Apr. 2, 2004 (Publication No. 2004/0190114), which is itself a continuation of application Ser. No. 09/349,806, filed Jul. 8, 1999 (Publication No. 2002/0113770—now abandoned), which itself claims priority to U.S. Ser. No. 60/092,050, filed Jul. 8, 1998. The contents of the aforementioned applications are incorporated herein by reference.
The present invention relates to electronic displays and, in particular, to full color electrophoretic displays and methods of manufacturing full-color microencapsulated electrophoretic displays.
Electrophoretic display media are generally characterized by the movement of particles through an applied electric field. These displays are highly reflective, can be made bistable, can be scaled to large areas, and consume very little power. These properties allow encapsulated electrophoretic display media to be used in many applications for which traditional electronic displays are not suitable. While bichromatic electrophoretic displays have been demonstrated in a limited range of colors (e.g. black/white or yellow/red), to date there has not been successful commercialization of a full-color electrophoretic display. One reason for this failure of commercialization is the lack of a method of manufacture that is efficient and inexpensive.
One traditional technique for achieving a bright, full-color display which is known in the art of emissive displays is to create display elements that are red, green and blue. In this system, each element has two states: on, or the emission of color; and off. Since light blends from these elements, the overall display can take on a variety of colors and color combinations. In an emissive display, the visual result is the summation of the wavelengths emitted by the display elements at selected intensities, white is seen when red, green and blue are all active in balanced proportion. The brightness of the white image is controlled by the intensities of emission of light by the individual display elements. Black is seen when none are active or, equivalently, when all are emitting at zero intensity. As an additional example, a red visual display appears when the red display element is active while the green and blue are inactive, and thus only red light is emitted.
This method can be applied to bichromatic reflective displays, typically using the cyan-magenta-yellow subtractive color system. In this system, the reflective display elements absorb characteristic portions of the optical spectrum, rather than generating characteristic portions of the spectrum as do the elements in an emissive display. White reflects everything, or equivalently absorbs nothing. A colored reflective material reflects light corresponding in wavelength to the color seen, and absorbs the remainder of the wavelengths in the visible spectrum. To achieve a black display, all three display elements are turned on, and they absorb complementary portions of the spectrum.
However, such techniques require that the colored display elements be deposited onto a substrate in substantially equal proportions aligned with the proper addressing electrodes. Failure to achieve either substantially equal proportions of colored display elements or failure to achieve registration of the display elements with the addressing electrodes results in a color display that is unsatisfactory.
This invention teaches practical ways to efficiently and cheaply manufacture full-color, encapsulated electrophoretic displays. In one embodiment the display media can be printed and, therefore the display itself can be made inexpensively.
An encapsulated electrophoretic display can be constructed so that the optical state of the display is stable for some length of time. When the display has two states which are stable in this manner, the display is said to be bistable. If more than two states of the display are stable, then the display can be said to be multistable. For the purpose of this invention, the terms bistable and multistable, or generally, stable, will be used to indicate a display in which any optical state remains fixed once the addressing voltage is removed. The definition of a stable state depends on the application for the display. A slowly-decaying optical state can be effectively stable if the optical state is substantially unchanged over the required viewing time. For example, in a display which is updated every few minutes, a display image which is stable for hours or days is effectively bistable or multistable, as the case may be, for that application. In this invention, the terms bistable and multistable also indicate a display with an optical state sufficiently long-lived as to be effectively stable for the application in mind. Alternatively, it is possible to construct encapsulated electrophoretic displays in which the image decays quickly once the addressing voltage to the display is removed (i.e., the display is not bistable or multistable). As will be described, in some applications it is advantageous to use an encapsulated electrophoretic display which is not bistable or multistable. Whether or not an encapsulated electrophoretic display is stable, and its degree of stability, can be controlled through appropriate chemical modification of the electrophoretic particles, the suspending fluid, the capsule, binder materials, or addressing methods.
An encapsulated electrophoretic display may take many forms. The display may comprise capsules dispersed in a binder. The capsules may be of any size or shape. The capsules may, for example, be spherical and may have diameters in the millimeter range or the micron range, but is preferably from ten to a few hundred microns. The capsules may be formed by an encapsulation technique, as described below. Particles may be encapsulated in the capsules. The particles may be two or more different types of particles. The particles may be colored, luminescent, light-absorbing or transparent, for example. The particles may include neat pigments, dyed (laked) pigments or pigment/polymer composites, for example. The display may further comprise a suspending fluid in which the particles are dispersed.
The successful construction of an encapsulated electrophoretic display requires the proper interaction of several different types of materials and processes, such as a polymeric binder and, optionally, a capsule membrane. These materials must be chemically compatible with the electrophoretic particles and fluid, as well as with each other. The capsule materials may engage in useful surface interactions with the electrophoretic particles, or may act as a chemical or physical boundary between the fluid and the binder. Various materials and combinations of materials useful in constructing encapsulated electrophoretic displays are described in co-pending application Ser. No. 09/140,861, the contents of which are incorporated by reference herein.
In some cases, the encapsulation step of the process is not necessary, and the electrophoretic fluid may be directly dispersed or emulsified into the binder (or a precursor to the binder materials) and an effective “polymer-dispersed electrophoretic display” constructed. In such displays, voids created in the binder may be referred to as capsules or microcapsules even though no capsule membrane is present. The binder dispersed electrophoretic display may be of the emulsion or phase separation type.
Throughout the Specification, reference will be made to printing or printed. As used throughout the specification, printing is intended to include all forms of printing and coating, including: premetered coatings such as patch die coating, slot or extrusion coating, slide or cascade coating, and curtain coating; roll coating such as knife over roll coating, forward and reverse roll coating; gravure coating; dip coating; spray coating; meniscus coating; spin coating; brush coating; air knife coating; silk screen printing processes; electrostatic printing processes; thermal printing processes; lithographic printing processes; ink jet printing processes and other similar techniques. A “printed element” refers to an element formed using any one of the above techniques.
As noted above, electrophoretic display elements can be encapsulated. Throughout the Specification, reference will be made to “capsules,” “elements,” and “display elements.” A capsule or display element may itself comprise one or more capsules or other structures.
In one aspect the present invention relates to a method for manufacturing a color electrophoretic display. A substrate is provided having at least two electrodes. A first plurality of electrophoretic display elements are disposed on the substrate in substantial registration with one of the electrodes. The first plurality of electrophoretic display elements includes capsules containing a first species of particles suspended in a dispersing fluid and having a first optical property. A second plurality of electrophoretic display elements is disposed on the substrate in substantial registration with the other electrode. The second plurality of electrophoretic display elements includes capsules containing a second species of particles suspended in a dispersing fluid and having a second optical property.
In another aspect the present invention relates to a method for manufacturing a color electrophoretic display. A substrate is provided. A first plurality of electrophoretic display elements are disposed on the substrate. The first plurality of electrophoretic display elements includes capsules containing a first species of particles suspended in a dispersing fluid and having a first optical property. At least one electrode is deposited on the first plurality of electrophoretic display elements.
In still another aspect the present invention relates to a method for manufacturing a color electrophoretic display. A substrate is provided and at least two electrodes are deposited on the substrate. A first plurality of electrophoretic display elements are disposed on the substrate in substantial registration with one of the electrodes. The first plurality of electrophoretic display elements includes capsules containing a first species of particles suspended in a dispersing fluid and having a first optical property. A second plurality of electrophoretic display elements is disposed on the substrate in substantial registration with the other electrode. The second plurality of electrophoretic display elements includes capsules containing a second species of particles suspended in a dispersing fluid and having a second optical property.
In yet another aspect the present invention relates to a method for manufacturing a color electrophoretic display. A substrate is provided and a first plurality of electrophoretic display elements are disposed on the substrate. The first plurality of electrophoretic display elements includes capsules containing a first species of particles suspended in a dispersing fluid and having a first optical property. A second substrate is provided and at least one electrode is deposited on the second substrate. The first and second substrate are disposed adjacent each other so that the display elements are adjacent the electrode.
The invention is pointed out with particularity in the appended claims. The advantages of the invention described above, together with further advantages, may be better understood by referring to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. In the drawings, like reference characters generally refer to the same parts throughout the different views. Also, the drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead generally being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention.
Electronic ink is an optoelectronically active material that comprises at least two phases: an electrophoretic contrast media phase and a coating/binding phase. The electrophoretic phase comprises, in some embodiments, a single species of electrophoretic particles dispersed in a clear or dyed medium, or more than one species of electrophoretic particles having distinct physical and electrical characteristics dispersed in a clear or dyed medium. In some embodiments the electrophoretic phase is encapsulated, that is, there is a capsule wall phase between the two phases. The coating/binding phase includes, in one embodiment, a polymer matrix that surrounds the electrophoretic phase. In this embodiment, the polymer in the polymeric binder is capable of being dried, crosslinked, or otherwise cured as in traditional inks, and therefore a printing process can be used to deposit the electronic ink onto a substrate.
In one embodiment, the ink may comprise display elements capable of displaying different colors. In one particular embodiment, some display elements contain red particles, some display elements contain green particles, and some display elements contain blue particles, respectively. In another particular embodiment, some display elements contain cyan particles, some display elements contain magenta particles, and some display elements contain yellow particles, respectively. By addressing each display element to display some fraction of its colored particles, a display can be caused to give an appearance corresponding to a selected color at a selected brightness level.
Electronic ink is capable of being printed by several different processes, depending on the mechanical properties of the specific ink employed. For example, the fragility or viscosity of a particular ink may result in a different process selection. A very viscous ink would not be well-suited to deposition by an inkjet printing process, while a fragile ink might not be used in a knife over roll coating process.
The optical quality of an electronic ink is quite distinct from other electronic display materials. The most notable difference is that the electronic ink provides a high degree of both reflectance and contrast because it is pigment based (as are ordinary printing inks). The light scattered from the electronic ink comes from a very thin layer of pigment close to the viewing surface. In this respect it resembles an ordinary, printed image. Also, electronic ink is easily viewed from a wide range of viewing angles in the same manner as a printed page, and such ink approximates a Lambertian contrast curve more closely than any other electronic display material. Since electronic ink can be printed, it can be included on the same surface with any other printed material, including traditional inks Electronic ink can be made optically stable in all display configurations, that is, the ink can be set to a persistent optical state. Fabrication of a display by printing an electronic ink is particularly useful in low power applications because of this stability.
Electronic ink displays are novel in that they can be addressed by DC voltages and draw very little current. Therefore, elements forming electronic inks may be made of non-traditional materials and electronic inks may be manufactured by and used in non-traditional methods. As such, the conductive leads and electrodes used to deliver the voltage to electronic ink displays can be of relatively high resistivity. The ability to use resistive conductors substantially widens the number and type of materials that can be used as conductors in electronic ink displays. In particular, the use of costly vacuum-sputtered indium tin oxide (ITO) conductors, a standard material in liquid crystal devices, is not required. Aside from cost savings, the replacement of ITO with other materials can provide benefits in appearance, processing capabilities (printed conductors), flexibility, and durability. Additionally, the printed electrodes are in contact only with a solid binder, not with a fluid layer (like liquid crystals). This means that some conductive materials, which would otherwise dissolve or be degraded by contact with liquid crystals, can be used in an electronic ink application. These include opaque metallic inks for the rear electrode (e.g., silver and graphite inks), as well as conductive transparent inks for either substrate. These conductive coatings include semiconducting colloids, examples of which are indium tin oxide and antimony-doped tin oxide. Organic conductors (polymeric conductors and molecular organic conductors) also may be used. Polymers include, but are not limited to, polyaniline and derivatives, polythiophene and derivatives, poly3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene (PEDOT) and derivatives, polypyrrole and derivatives, and polyphenylenevinylene (PPV) and derivatives. Organic molecular conductors include, but are not limited to, derivatives of naphthalene, phthalocyanine, and pentacene. Polymer layers can be made thinner and more transparent than with traditional displays because conductivity requirements are not as stringent.
As an example, there is a class of materials called electroconductive powders which are also useful as coatable transparent conductors in electronic ink displays. One example is Zelec ECP electroconductive powders from DuPont Chemical Co. of Wilmington, Del.
It is possible to produce a wide gamut of colors from the superposition of suitable proportions of three properly chosen colors. In one embodiment, the colors red, green, and blue can be combined in various proportions to produce an image that is perceived as a selected color. Emissive or transmissive displays operate according to additive rules, where the perceived color is created by summing the emission wavelengths of a plurality of emitting or transmitting objects. For an emissive or transmissive display that includes three display elements, one of which can produce red light, one green light, and one blue light, respectively, one can generate a wide gamut of colors, as well as white and black. At one extreme, the combination of all three at full intensity is perceived as white, and at the other, the combination of all three at zero intensity is perceived as black. Specific combinations of controlled proportions of these three colors can be used to represent other colors.
In a reflective display, the light that a viewer perceives is the portion of the spectrum that is not absorbed when the light to be reflected falls on the reflector surface. One may thus consider a reflecting system as a subtractive system, that is, that each reflective surface “subtracts” from the light that portion which the reflector absorbs. The color of a reflector represents the wavelengths of light the reflector absorbs. A yellow reflector absorbs substantially blue light. A magenta reflector absorbs substantially green light. A cyan reflector absorbs substantially red light. Thus, in an alternative embodiment employing reflectors, nearly the same results as an emissive system can be obtained by use of the three colors cyan, yellow, and magenta as the primary colors, from which all other colors, including black but not white, can be derived. To obtain white from such a display, one must further introduce a third state per display element, namely white.
While the methods described discuss particles, any combination of dyes, liquids droplets and transparent regions that respond to electrophoretic effects could also be used. Particles of various optical effects may be combined in any suitable proportion. For example, certain colors may be over- or under-populated in the electrophoretic display, for example, by printing more display elements of one color than of another color, to account for the sensitivities of the human eye and to thereby achieve a more pleasing or uniform effect. Similarly, the sizes of the display elements may also be disproportionate to achieve various optical effects.
Although these examples describe microencapsulated electrophoretic displays, the invention can be utilized across other reflective displays including liquid crystal, polymer-dispersed liquid crystal, rotating ball, suspended particle and any other reflective display capable of being printed. In short, many schemes are possible by which display elements in a direct color reflective display can be printed. Such printing schemes will vary by the nature of the display and any suitable means may be used.
Referring now to
FIG 1A depicts a single capsule 20 of an encapsulated display media. In brief overview, the embodiment depicted in
The particles 50 represent 0.1% to 20% of the volume enclosed by the capsule 20. In some embodiments the particles 50 represent 2.5% to 17.5% of the volume enclosed by capsule 20. In preferred embodiments, the particles 50 represent 5% to 15% of the volume enclosed by the capsule 20. In more preferred embodiments the particles 50 represent 9% to 11% of the volume defined by the capsule 20. In general, the volume percentage of the capsule 20 that the particles 50 represent should be selected so that the particles 50 expose most of the second, larger electrode 40 when positioned over the first, smaller electrode 30. As described in detail below, the particles 50 may be colored any one of a number of colors. The particles 50 may be either positively charged or negatively charged.
The particles 50 are dispersed in a dispersing fluid 25. The dispersing fluid 25 should have a low dielectric constant. The fluid 25 may be clear, or substantially clear, so that the fluid 25 does not inhibit viewing the particles 50 and the electrodes 30, 40 from position 10. In other embodiments, the fluid 25 is dyed. In some embodiments the dispersing fluid 25 has a specific gravity substantially matched to the density of the particles 50. These embodiments can provide a bistable display media, because the particles 50 do not tend to move absent an electric field applied via the electrodes 30, 40.
The electrodes 30, 40 should be sized and positioned appropriately so that together they address the entire capsule 20. There may be exactly one pair of electrodes 30, 40 per capsule 20, multiple pairs of electrodes 30, 40 per capsule 20, or a single pair of electrodes 30, 40 may span multiple capsules 20. In the embodiment shown in
Electrodes generally may be fabricated from any material capable of conducting electricity so that electrode 30, 40 may apply an electric field to the capsule 20. In the embodiments to be discussed here, conductive material may be printed by using conductive ink. Conductive inks are well known and may be prepared by including in the ink fluid a conductive material such as powdered metal or powdered graphite. As noted above, the rear-addressed embodiments depicted in
The operation of the electrophoretic display element will be presented with regard to an embodiment that displays two states, for example, black and white. In this embodiment, the capsule 20 contains positively charged black particles 50, and a substantially clear suspending fluid 25. The first, smaller electrode 30 is colored black, and is smaller than the second electrode 40, which is colored white or is highly reflective. When the smaller, black electrode 30 is placed at a negative voltage potential relative to larger, white electrode 40, the positively charged particles 50 migrate to the smaller, black electrode 30. The effect to a viewer of the capsule 20 located at position 10 is a mixture of the larger, white electrode 40 and the smaller, black electrode 30, creating an effect which is largely white. Referring to
Other two-color schemes are easily provided by varying the color of the smaller electrode 30 and the particles 50 or by varying the color of the larger electrode 40. For example, varying the color of the larger electrode 40 allows fabrication of a rear-addressed, two-color display having black as one of the colors. Alternatively, varying the color of the smaller electrode 30 and the particles 50 allow a rear-addressed two-color system to be fabricated using white as one of the colors. Further, it is contemplated that the particles 50 and the smaller electrode 30 can be different colors. In these embodiments, a two-color display may be fabricated having a second color that is different from the color of the smaller electrode 30 and the particles 50. For example, a rear-addressed, orange-white display may be fabricated by providing blue particles 50, a red, smaller electrode 30, and a white (or highly reflective) larger electrode 40. In general, the optical properties of the electrodes 30, 40 and the particles 50 can be independently selected to provide desired display characteristics. In some embodiments the optical properties of the dispersing fluid 25 may also be varied, e.g. the fluid 25 may be dyed.
In another embodiment, this technique may be used to provide a full color display. Referring now to
In other embodiments the larger electrode 40 may be transparent or reflective instead of white. In these embodiments, when the particles 50 are moved to the smaller electrode 30, light reflects off the reflective surface of the larger electrode 40 and the capsule 20 appears light in color, e.g. white. When the particles 50 are moved to the larger electrode 40, the reflecting surface is obscured and the capsule 20 appears dark because light is absorbed by the particles 50 before reaching the reflecting surface. In other embodiments, proper switching of the particles may be accomplished with a combination of alternating-current (AC) and direct-current (DC) electric fields.
In still other embodiments, the rear-addressed display previously discussed can be configured to transition between largely transmissive and largely opaque modes of operation (referred to hereafter as “shutter mode”). Referring back to
A similar technique may be used in connection with the embodiment of
The smaller electrode 30 is at most one half the size of the larger electrode 40. In preferred embodiments the smaller electrode is one quarter the size of the larger electrode 40; in more preferred embodiments the smaller electrode 30 is one eighth the size of the larger electrode 40. In even more preferred embodiments, the smaller electrode 30 is one sixteenth the size of the larger electrode 40.
Causing the particles 50 to migrate to the smaller electrode 30, as depicted in
Referring now to
The smaller electrode 30 is at most one half the size of the larger electrode 40. In preferred embodiments the smaller electrode 30 is one quarter the size of the larger electrode 40; in more preferred embodiments the smaller electrode 30 is one eighth the size of the larger electrode 40. In even more preferred embodiments, the smaller electrode 30 is one sixteenth the size of the larger electrode 40.
Causing the particles 50 to migrate to the smaller electrode 30, as depicted in the first two capsules of
The filter layer 60 may be a translucent layer, a transparent layer, a color filter layer, or a layer is not provided at all, and further substrate 70 may be reflective, emissive, translucent or not provided at all. If the layer 60 comprises a color, such as a color filter, the light which is transmitted will be those wavelengths that the filter passes, and the reflected light will consist of those wavelengths that the filter reflects, while the wavelengths that the filter absorbs will be lost. The visual appearance of a the display element in 3E may thus depend on whether the display is in a transmissive or reflective condition, on the characteristics of the filter, and on the position of the viewer. In an alternative embodiment layer 60 may be provided on top of the capsule adjacent to electrode 42.
Referring now to
Referring now to
Referring now to
Referring now to
The addressing structure depicted in
While various of the substrates described above are reflective, an analogous technique may be employed wherein the substrates emit light, with the particles again acting in a “shutter mode” to reveal or obscure light. A preferred substrate for this use is an electroluminescent (EL) backlight. Such a backlight can be reflective when inactive, often with a whitish-green color, yet emit lights in various wavelengths when active. By using whitish EL substrates in place of static white reflective substrates, it is possible to construct a full-color reflective display that can also switch its mode of operation to display a range of colors in an emissive state, permitting operation in low ambient light conditions.
The technique used in
The addressing structures described in
As will be evident from the above discussion, color electrophoretic displays require careful registration of display elements to the electrodes used to address those display elements. Referring now to
A substrate is provided that has at least two electrodes (step 502). The number of electrodes provided will vary depending on the number of regions to be individually addressed. For example, in a traditional RGB display, three electrodes or sets of electrodes may be provided in order to address red capsules, green capsules, and blue capsules. The electrodes may have a predetermined pattern of interest. For example, a display may include both electronic ink and traditional, printed inks In such a display, the electrodes may be patterned to address only those portions of the display meant to bear electronic ink.
In some embodiments, the substrate is provided and the electrodes are printed on the substrate using any one of a number of printing techniques. Referring now to
Referring back to
In some embodiments, the display elements may be coated onto the substrate using an intermediate having a substantially cylindrical surface or a substantially flat surface, such as a lithographic belt. In specific embodiments, the intermediate is a roller, belt, blotter, brush, or sponge. The display elements may be held to the intermediate by electrostatic forces, surface tension, chemical bonding forces, or an applied electric field.
The properties of the binder phase can be adjusted to match the desired printing process. For example, an ink to be used in inkjet printing may be adjusted to have a low viscosity. An ink suitable for lithographic printing may be adjusted to have a suitable contact angle. The display elements can be dispersed in a suitable carrier fluid such as water or an organic solvent that is dried after coating. The carrier fluid can also contain agents to modify surface tension, contact angle, viscosity, or electrical conductivity. The binder phase may contain monomers, oligomers, polymers, or polymerization inhibitors. These components can be used to form physically robust display element layers.
In one embodiment the display elements could be dispersed in a low viscosity water solution containing a polymer. This solution could be inkjet printed in registration with the appropriate electrode pattern. In another embodiment the display element can be dispersed in an ultraviolet-curable resin used in lithographic printing processes, deposited on the appropriate electrodes by a lithographic process, and cured to form the display element layer. In all cases, the display elements are printed in substantial registration with the appropriate electrodes.
In other embodiments, the electronic ink is coated onto the substrate using an appropriate coating method such as knife-over-roll coating, silk-screen printing processes, brushing or other non-patterned coating techniques. In these embodiments, an electric signal is applied to the electrode to which the display elements should be registered. Application of an electric signal attracts the display elements proximate the electrode. For certain embodiments employing a carrier, the applied signal overcomes the forces holding the display elements to the carrier and transfers the elements to the substrate adjacent the electrode. The display elements can be dispersed in a low viscosity liquid, such as low molecular weight hydrocarbons like methylethylketone or cyclohexane, or alcohols such as ethanol or propanol. The display elements are then treated to produce a controlled surface charge by, for example, adjusting the pH of the dispersing liquid or adding surface active agents such as soaps, detergents, or other dispersants. Because the charge of the display elements is controlled, an electric charge can be use to transfer the display elements to the appropriate electrode.
Other display elements may then be removed from the substrate, e.g. by washing the substrate, to leave only the display elements that are proximate to the electrode. A second plurality of electrophoretic display elements are selectively deposited on the substrate in substantial registration with another electrode (step 506) using techniques similar to those just described. The technique used to selectively deposit the first plurality of display elements need not be the same technique as that used to selectively deposit the second plurality of display elements.
This technique for printing displays can be used to build the rear electrode structure on a display or to construct two separate layers that are laminated together to form the display. For example an electronically active ink may be printed on an indium tin oxide electrode. Separately, a rear electrode structure as described above can be printed on a suitable substrate, such as plastic, polymer films, or glass. The electrode structure and the display element can be laminated to form a display.
While the examples described here are listed using encapsulated electrophoretic displays, there are other particle-based display media which should also work as well, including encapsulated suspended particles and rotating ball displays.
While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to specific preferred embodiments, it should be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and detail may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.