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Fujitsu has developed a substrate-based electronic paper with an image-memory function that cuts electricity use. The paper is thin, about 0.8 mm thick, and can be bent without cracking or breaking. The company intends to test the material and then test-market it so it can be ready for use in various P-O-P applications next April.

The electronic paper shows continuous, vivid color images and uses electricity only when the image changes, explains Nick Hayashi, deputy general manager. It uses three proprietary displaying layers (red, green and blue) with no color filters or polarizing layers needed, creating bright graphics that are more vivid than conventional reflective-type LCDs, he says. The material was developed jointly by Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., Fujitsu Frontech Ltd. and Fujitsu Ltd. Images change via electrical charges to the substrate layer of the appropriate color, with the image-memory function retaining the picture after that. “The energy consumed is approximately 1/100 to 1/10000 the energy of conventional display technologies,” Hayashi says.

Because the screen image does not require repetitive updates to maintain its consistency, the screen does not flicker. The material is so thin that it can be bent or curved without changing the image. Each display layer of the film is approximately 0.25 mm thick, making the entire substrate approximately 0.8 mm thick. The company expects to be able to further reduce the thickness with continued developments, Hayashi adds.

No pricing or sizes for the film have been set yet, but the company anticipates a number of P-O-P applications to be among its predominant uses. These include electronic shelf-display tags, merchandising displays, food-service menu boards and pricing displays. “This type of electronic paper is especially convenient for use on curved surfaces, such as columns,” he says.


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