3 May 2012 Electrofluidic systems for contrast management
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Abstract
Operating in dynamic lighting conditions and in greatly varying backgrounds is challenging. Current paints and state-ofthe- art passive adaptive coatings (e.g. photochromics) are not suitable for multi- environment situations. A semi-active, low power, skin is needed that can adapt its reflective properties based on the background environment to minimize contrast through the development and incorporation of suitable pigment materials. Electrofluidic skins are a reflective display technology for electronic ink and paper applications. The technology is similar to that in E Ink but makes use of MEMS based microfluidic structures, instead of simple black and white ink microcapsules dispersed in clear oil. Electrofluidic skin's low power operation and fast switching speeds (~20 ms) are an improvement over current state-ofthe- art contrast management technologies. We report on a microfluidic display which utilizes diffuse pigment dispersion inks to change the contrast of the underlying substrate from 5.8% to 100%. Voltage is applied and an electromechanical pressure is used to pull a pigment dispersion based ink from a hydrophobic coated reservoir into a hydrophobic coated surface channel. When no voltage is applied, the Young-Laplace pressure pushes the pigment dispersion ink back down into the reservoir. This allows the pixel to switch from the on and off state by balancing the two pressures. Taking a systems engineering approach from the beginning of development has enabled the technology to be integrated into larger systems.
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Keith J. Rebello, Jeffrey P. Maranchi, Jason E. Tiffany, Christopher Y. Brown, Adam J. Maisano, Matthew A. Hagedon, Jason C. Heikenfeld, "Electrofluidic systems for contrast management", Proc. SPIE 8373, Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications IV, 83731A (3 May 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.919555; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.919555
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