Electronic paper, also called e-paper or electronic ink display is a display technology designed to mimic the appearance of ordinary ink on paper. Unlike a conventional flat panel display, which uses a backlight to illuminate its pixels, electronic paper reflects light like ordinary paper and is capable of holding text and images indefinitely without drawing electricity, while allowing the image to be changed later.
To build e-paper, several different technologies exist, some using plastic substrate and electronics so that the display is flexible. E-paper is considered more comfortable to read than conventional displays. This is due to the stable image, which does not need to be refreshed constantly, the wider viewing angle, and the fact that it reflects ambient light rather than emitting its own light. An e-paper display can be read in direct sunlight without the image fading. Lightweight and durable, e-paper can currently provide only a monochrome display, e.g., black on white. The contrast ratio in available displays as of 2008 might be described as similar to that of newspaper, though newly-developed implementations are slightly better. There is ongoing competition among manufacturers to provide full-color capability.
Applications include electronic pricing labels in retail shops, and general signage, time tables at bus stations, electronic billboards, the mobile phone Motorola FONE F3, and e-book readers capable of displaying digital versions of books and e-paper magazines.
Electronic paper should not be confused with digital paper, which is a pad to create handwritten digital documents with a digital pen.