Video-capable colour ePaper in demand for Chinese school tablets: Page 3 of 3

November 22, 2017 //By Julien Happich
Video-capable colour ePaper in demand for Chinese school tablets
After Californian startup CLEARink Displays had closed a USD5 million in Series C funding, backed by a number of Asian display manufacturers, eeNews Europe caught up with the company's Vice President of Marketing, Sri Peruvemba.

Talking about display specifications, Peruvemba is cautious not to be too definitive, since the company only has lab prototypes which it says are not production representative.

"Our samples were optimized and the trial production of a few hundred units is happening right now in a LCD factory in China. That will result in units that we will use for characterization, testing etc. so we can create customer ready specifications (required for formal contracts). It is possible that we might have enough extra units that we can start sampling to customers and building kits that we can sell", explained Peruvemba.

So far, he says the lab samples exhibit a white state reflectance of 83% (compared to 43% with other ePaper technologies), and a contrast ratio of 1:20 (compared to 1:12). The company produced black & white samples at a resolution of 212dpi, which would yield a 106dpi resolution in colour, once RGBW filters are layered on top to create the colour pixels. Even with the colour filters overlaid, CLEARink says it still achieves a reflectance of roughly 40%, about twice that of colour ePaper.

"Our intent is to build displays at much higher resolution" Peruvemba told eeNews Europe. "Our resolution is determined by the TFT backplane, not by the microstructured film we place on top. In fact, the size of the reflective microcups can be varied. It is a few tens of micrometres in diameter but we can bring it down to single digit micrometres".

But high resolution on eSchoolbooks is a "nice-to-have", not a "must-have", and people do not want to pay a premium, argues Peruvemba. "I highly doubt they would want to pay for more than 300dpi" he says, emphasizing that a long list of companies approached CLEARink to invest in the startup.

The startup has established a joint development agreement with chemical company Merck who produces the ink. CLEARink plans to manufacture the ePaper via contract manufacturing in a fully depreciated LCD fab to address its target markets.

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