Siemens shows color display technology that can be printed onto various surfaces and can display a moving image.
At the Plastics Electronics trade fair in Frankfurt this month, Siemens
demonstrated small color displays that can be printed using commercial
printing processes onto paper and plastics. These very low cost
displays will come to market in 2007.
The material consists of an electrochromic material which absorbs
different frequencies of light when an electric voltage is applied to
the molecules. This means that they change color when electricity is
applied. A conductive plastic foil serves as the other electrode and as
a clear window that protects the chemical layer in the process. The
current process embeds a small silicon chip to control the system but
work is progressing on using a fully printable circuit, so that the
whole device can be printed onto the paper or plastic substrate. Even
the batteries can be printable. Such batteries only last a few months,
but this still makes then suitable for many applications in packaging
and things like newspapers. Other work is being done on using printable
antennas to receive power from a local source. Siemens is working with
a partner company to integrate the process into the packaging and
Unlike other developments in thin and cheap displays, like OLED, this
new technology does not emit light and so is viewed in the natural
light of the environment. This makes then readily viewable in bright
sunlight, for example, which can wash out other displays. In this sense
it is similar to other developments like electronic or e-ink.