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Flexible Displays

Learn more about how plastic-based TFT backplanes (TFT) can enable larger and thinner products that are rugged and lightweight.

Flexible displays - the future is now!

Flexible displays have been discussed for years, but product designers were unable to bring their visions to the market due to limitations in TFT manufacturing on non-glass substrates.

While the Ink film is currently fully flexible, E Ink's scientists has been working in the labs on flexible TFTs and can now manufacture fully flexible displays through the use of a polyimide plastic TFT backplane, which is laminated to the ink layer. Using a flexible TFT allows for a lighter display module and a more rugged display solution.


Lighter, more rugged displays

For an end customer, a flexible display has several benefits outside of the flexibility of the display itself.

Plastic-based TFTs allow the end product to be substantially lighter and thinner than products using glass-based TFTs. In addition, glass-based TFTs can be fragile; use of plastic-based TFTs can result in a more rugged end product with less breakage in the electronics due to drops or stress tension.

The weight savings with plastic TFTs can make a significant difference in the end products' specs: a 10.7" LCD-based display weighs an average of 1.44 pounds; a 11.4" E Ink display with a plastic TFT and similar internal components can weigh only 17 ounces. As product designers consider utilizing larger displays for eTextbooks and eNewspapers, this weight savings can allow for larger devices to be held easily in one hand and will make a big difference in the weight of a student's backpack.

Use of glass with flexible displays

For applications such as cell phones or hand-held devices, the use of a plastic TFT can be augmented by a layer of unbreakable glass on the front of the display to give stiffness to a device which requires significant touch interaction, but still provides an increased ruggedness. In these types of devices the TFT itself is often the component that fails when dropped, rather than the top plane glass. A plastic TFT can significantly reduce display failure due to those drops.

E Ink has been working with a number of electronics partners throughout the past few years to bring flexible displays to the market. Several of our partners offer non-glass TFT options. If you have further questions regarding flexible displays, or adopting them for your device design, please contact our sales team.