Researchers from The University of Cincinnati are working on the development of affordable and disposable e-readers.
The research by Andrew Steckl of UC involves advances in display technology that achieves electrowetting on paper as opposed to glass.
In the research, Steckl and UC's Duk Young Kim demonstrated that paper could be used as a flexible host material for an electrowetting device.
Electrowetting (EW) involves applying an electric field to colored droplets within a display in order to reveal content such as type, photographs and video.
"One of the main goals of e-paper is to replicate the look and feel of actual ink on paper," stated the researchers.
"We have, therefore, investigated the use of paper as the perfect substrate for EW devices to accomplish e-paper on paper," they said.
Importantly, they found that the performance of the electrowetting device on paper is equivalent to that of glass, which is the gold standard in the field.
"With the right paper, the right process and the right device fabrication technique, you can get results that are as good as you would get on glass, and our results are good enough for a video-style e-reader," said Steckl.
Disposing of a paper-based e-reader, Steckl pointed out, is also far simpler in terms of the environmental impact.
"In general, this is an elegant method for reducing device complexity and cost, resulting in one-time-use devices that can be totally disposed after use," said the researchers.
The findings were detailed in the ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.