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Displays Technology

Samsung's New Carbon Nanotube Color E-Paper 87

Iddo Genuth writes to tell us that Samsung and Unidym have shown the world's first carbon nanotube-based color e-paper. Interestingly, the new film is electrically conductive while remaining almost completely translucent and only 50 nanometers thick. "The company also mentions that the EPD [electrophoretic displays] has important advantages over conventional flat panel displays. EPDs have very low power consumption and bright light readability, which means that even under bright lights or sunlight, the user would be able to view the display clearly. Furthermore, since the device uses the thin CNT films, applications can include e-paper and displays with thin, flexible substrates. Power consumption is lowered due to the EPD's ability to reflect light and therefore able to preserve text or images on the display without frequently refreshing."
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Samsung's New Carbon Nanotube Color E-Paper

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  • Backlight (Score:5, Funny)

    by overcaffein8d ( 1101951 ) <[d.cohen09] [at] []> on Monday October 27, 2008 @11:39PM (#25537027) Homepage Journal

    It conspicuously says nothing about whether you can apply a backlight to it.

    But front-light readability is great for us Slashdotters who go outside and work :)

  • obvious use (Score:3, Funny)

    by bmecoli ( 963615 ) on Monday October 27, 2008 @11:48PM (#25537081)
    Awesome, I can now have a convenient way of looking at 100s of galleries of porn when I'm in the bathroom!
    • you probably meant on the toilet. it got me thinking though..

      i wonder if it could be waterproofed. it's probably easy though, just a thin layer of some type of plastic. adding a low-heat cpu and putting heat exchangers on the surface so it doesn't require vents would possibly make it completely safe for rainy days.. with some work, it could probably even work underwater.

      it probably sounds useless or silly, but the ability to access the internet or your own stored files anywhere is pretty useful and/or comfo

  • by agendi ( 684385 ) on Monday October 27, 2008 @11:53PM (#25537105)
    That might also be nice to use for head up displays in cars.. or even to put over my living room window to change the view :)
    • That might also be nice to use for head up displays in cars..

      Um, I don't think you would want an e-paper type of display for a HUD. Usually they are drawn with lasers or LEDs [] on a sheet of glass, so that you can see through them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        um, all you did was say how HUDs are currently made. you gave no reason why this wouldn't be a good alternative method of implementing a HUD.

        and reading the Wikipedia article you linked to, it says nothing about using lasers to draw onto the sheet of glass. instead, it states that most HUDs use reflected CRT/LED/LCD-projected monochrome light. using this type of transparent e-paper display would allow full-color HUDs, and would simplify the system by using the e-paper in place of the combiner+projection uni

        • And then someone throws a rock at your windscreen.

          • you can layer the e-paper over glass. or, you may not even have to since it's made of carbon nanotubes, which have a higher tensile strength than steel.
            • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

              by Anonymous Coward

              So now in "rock, paper, scissors" paper beats everything?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by wjsteele ( 255130 )

          The only problem with using ePaper for a HUD is that you will not get the correct focal length. Normally, HUDs have a complex array of optics to move the image's focal point beyond the front of the car when seen by the the driver.

          Simply applying ePaper to the glass would set the focal point to the windsheld, which is way too close for usability.

          Also, there is the fact that they would also need some form of lighting during the night as ePaper isn't a light source by itself.


        • by perbert ( 241785 )

          Actually, no. The e-paper itself is NOT translucent or transparent. E-paper is a reflective medium. It's the top electrode on the e-paper, being made of CNTs and acting as a replacement for traditional ITO, that is translucent. However, ITO is very transparent, whereas CNTs are not. Notice the display in the article is rather dark.

          Also, ITO is not flexible, while CNTs are. That's why CNTs are being used to replace ITO in e-paper, which is meant to be flexible. At least, in principle.

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      Completely translucent... you mean clear? Seriously, wtf is almost completely translucent?

      • Completely translucent... you mean clear? Seriously, wtf is almost completely translucent?

        Clear would be completely transparent. Completely translucent would almost be the opposite of clear. I'd say almost completely translucent would be something you could see through and maybe barely make out what was on the other side. translucent []

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nmg196 ( 184961 )

      Only if you never want to see where you're going and don't want to look outside again.

      The article says the display is translucent - not transparent. ie, it lets some light through, but you can't see through it - like greaseproof paper, or frosted glass. Pretty useless for making a HUD.

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      I hope you mean transparent. Frosted glass is translucent but I sure wouldn't want my windshield to be made out of it.

    • If translucent is partially transparent, "completely translucent" is technically "partially completely transparent, which doesn't mean much.
  • Sure color is nice, but I can't afford monochrome right now, and I don't want to know what all those extra colors will cost.
  • ...lit e-reader, and eventually an ambiently lit 'e-painting' that looks just like the real thing but I can change it as often as I want.

    What the hell is up with this "", It is hanging my whole system for 3 seconds just for some lame heavily scripted web2.0-ness?! I want the old slashdot back! Help me tag it (which now suck though) 'slashdotsucks'!
    • by fprintf ( 82740 )

      I got stuck in that loop myself. Go into Help & Preferences [], look on the right under Index and click on the General link. At the top is a checkbox "Use Beta Index". Uncheck this box and you will be returned to regular Slashdot sweets & joy & goodness.

  • With Ted Stevens'conviction [] in the news, the joke deserves a bit of a revival. :)
  • Color E-paper (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ostracus ( 1354233 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @12:29AM (#25537339) Journal

    "A waterproof MP3 player built for bright beach days is the first device with a color "e-paper" display, meaning it has no backlighting and thus can be read in direct sunlight. The display, from Qualcomm, consists of two layers of a reflective material. Some wavelengths of light bounce off the first layer; some pass through and bounce off the second. Interference between the two beams creates the color, and electrostatic forces control the distance between the layers." []

    • by Idbar ( 1034346 )
      I had the chance, about two years or so ago, of holding a color e-ink picture frame. I have to say it was great. After that then, it came the sony e-reader, amazon's kinddle, but I haven't seen yet a final product of such device.

      I've been wondering what ever happened to such technology.
    • by Timmmm ( 636430 )

      That's not really e-paper. It works in a completely different way to e-ink and is more akin to LCD (which technically doesn't need a backlight either).

      The contrast isn't nearly as good as e-ink. Doesn't look like the one in the article has very good contrast either.

  • Cloud is pants, and idle is definitely pants, but Epaper? That's not pants. Well, there is the possibility of actual pants being made from it, so it could be pants, literally .. uh, did I just "whoosh" myself? Sigh.

    Anyway, highly amusing to see this extremely British slang creeping into the everyday slashdot vernacular.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      pants is the worst slang I've ever heard. i hope all british people die.

      • by level4 ( 1002199 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @05:17AM (#25538661)

        i hope all british people die.

        You will be delighted to discover that all British people do, in fact, die.

        For the men, you need only wait 76.9 years before death is statistically likely; for the females it's a slightly longer period of eager anticipation: 81.2 years on average before your wish is fulfilled.

        Jolly good show, eh, old boy?

      • by Hucko ( 998827 )

        Its british? I thought it was USA-ish along with 'google it'. Gah I caught myself saying it the other day.

  • Cancerous 'paper' (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RudeIota ( 1131331 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @12:54AM (#25537507) Homepage
    Everyone might want to stay away from the paper shredder with these - It will either destroy the blades or make some pretty nasty, toxic dust [].

    Might do both. :)
    • A vital part of The Singularity is designing technology that can defend itself, or at least poison people who attack it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Miseph ( 979059 )

      You mean I shouldn't just crush up random things and snort them? What will I do?

      Holy shit dude, that just rocked my world. I don't know how I'll be able to go on knowing that the world isn't made of pixie dust, happy thoughts and unicorn spit... or that if it is, all of those things cause cancer. Guess I'll just have to keep not inhaling, eating, injecting, humping, smoking or otherwise being stupid with everything I come across without regard to the possibility of consequence.

  • I'd be more impressed if they made them out of Copper Nanotubes (CuNT).
  • Finally a display suitable for the ultimate comic book reader. Not that it will replace real comics, just augment them like my kindle does with books.

  • carbon nanotube-based color e-paper.

    (With apologies to Bob Novella) we should put billions of dollars into this!

    (Go to for a super-awesome science podcast, with a bit of geek culture leaking through the floorboards every now and again; Bob is one of the hosts).

  • the world's first carbon nanotube-based color e-paper.

    How much extra do I have to pay for the additional unnecessary buzzword? I don't recall carbon nanotubes being particularly cheap.

    even under bright lights or sunlight, the user would be able to view the display clearly

    B&W LCDs are so terribly under-appreciated... I still keep my decades old PDAs working specifically because B&W LCD screens are superior, but rather difficult to find (in reasonably large sizes) now.

    Hell, I'd love to get a 15" B

  • by BlackCreek ( 1004083 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @05:56AM (#25538851)
    On the the topic of E-reading....

    Open ink pot has released the first "free" Linux firmware to run on e-readers: []

  • ARE there anything they CANT do?
  • by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @08:14AM (#25539581)
    This is actually a real technical breakthrough. The point is that the nanotubes are highly conductive and highly transparent so the display can be made much larger (and thinner)than hitherto. LCDs have quite a thick electrode layer on the front to provide enough conductivity and this is one of the limiting factors. The holy grail of e-paper, the thing to drive widespread usage, is the ability to deliver a full A4 or USL size page, at which point it has a big future in business. For anybody who hasn't noticed, business discussions (as distinct from people sitting around chewing fat on zero-information-content PP slides) usually require participants to wade through long reports, which still need to be printed, and which are then discarded (and have to be shredded...).

    A workable e-reader would have a market here which is initially niche but would then provide the revenue to get to the fully commercialised A4 e-reader - which makes electronic delivery of newspapers and magazines fully practical. The decline in value of internet content is driven by the advertiser-funded model. Paid-for services offering real value would love a locked down e-reader. (and I personally don't mind paying for worthwhile services. By buying a subscription to e.g. Scientific American, I help guarantee its editorial independence and ability to fund articles that would lose certain advertisers.)

    Proof of concept of a workable full page e-reader, during a recession when people are looking for disruptive technologies that may offer a good return? This could easily be the most important thing on Slashdot this week.

    • by MikeFM ( 12491 )

      I'd be happy if they'd just make some sort of decent digital paper affordable enough that normal geeks could make stuff with it.

      e.g. I've wanted to mod an iMac so that the entire case is done in digital paper so that it acts as a screen without nasty backlighting. Could make an interesting look, be fun, and allow nice display of stats.

      I'm sure I could come up with endless ideas if the stuff wasn't so damn expensive. I keep hearing that they'll be doing cereal boxes and greeting cards in this stuff but I can

  • Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @08:26AM (#25539663) Journal

    What the hell does "almost completely translucent" mean? Does "completely translucent" = transparent?

    Isn't 'translucent' merely a descriptor for a state somewhere between transparent and opaque?

    • by mikael ( 484 )

      Translucent means "allows photons through, but not in a straight line". This means, all the light travelling through becomes diffused and blurred. Every photon may get through, but just not in the direction it started from. Just like those clear plastic folders used to protect sheets of paper in ring binders. Pressed against the paper, you can see the paper clearly. Lift the plastic cover up, and you can't see the text on the paper.

    • Isn't it obvious: some parts are mostly transparent; others are nearly opaque. Hence almost completely translucent.
  • Think of the paper cuts you might get!

    Just don't drink lemonade while reading the paper, and you should be ok.

  • It's only 50 nanometers thick? How does that compare to regular paper? I'm trying to figure out how much more or less likely papercuts would be with this stuff, and 50 nanometers sounds pretty thin.
    • Per Wiki - is pretty thin: one nanometer is one millionth of a millimeter I'm guessing the paper cuts will be hardly noticable, but missing fingers will be a problem.

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak