Graphene Technology Could Lead To Cheaper, More Durable E-Readers

Group Vertical carries replacement parts for many different styles of e-ink and LCD e-readers, but graphene technology could be an exciting third option on the market.

Guangzhou Technologies has developed a graphene-based e-ink  that makes for a brighter, more flexible, and more durable screen, as Gizmodo reports. The carbon-based graphene is relatively inexpensive to produce, and could lead to cheaper e-ink models soon.

Graphene's molecular structure resembles a honeycomb lattice of carbon atoms, with a single atom at each vertex. It belongs to the family of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. In simpler terms, Graphene is the world's strongest and lightest known material. It is so thin that it was originally classified as 2-dimensional. A single layer of graphene is only 0.335 nanometers thick and can conduct heat and electricity very efficiently.

Screens using e-ink, or electrophoretic ink, are essentially a plane of millions of tiny microcapsules, each containing both black and white iridium particles suspended in a clear fluid. By altering the charge of electrodes under the microcapsules, the particles can be arranged to create images as clear as those printed on paper.

The Digital Reader reported in May that Guangzhou OED got its start in developing its own copy of e-paper, rivaling players in the E-ink market, but that its new foray into graphene technology is too little too late.

"E-ink bought Sipix in 2012 and then used that company's tech to develop 3-color shelf labels," wrote  Nate Hoffelder. "That tech never made its way into e-reader screens, and Guangzhou OED's new graphene epaper will likely follow the same path."

But many are still optimistic about the applications of graphene. Alphr reported back in 2013 that researchers at Northwestern University had used graphene-based ink to print electronic patterns on flexible sheets that managed to retain their electronic properties even when bent. And Samsung has apparently discovered how to create large-area, single-crystal wafer scale graphene without losing the main benefits of the material.

"Graphene has a unique combination of properties that is ideal for next-generation electronics, including high electrical conductivity, mechanical flexibility, and chemical stability," said Northwestern University's professor of materials science and engineering Mark Hersam. "By formulating an inkjet-printable ink based on graphene, we now have an inexpensive and scalable path for exploiting these properties in real-world technologies."

Samsung is leading the way in applications for graphene patents. A 2013 report from the U.K.’s Intellectual Property Office reported that the company has hundreds of patents worldwide, while Samsung claims 38 patents and at least 17 applications using the word graphene in the U.S.

When graphene e-readers finally hit the market, count on Group Vertical to give you a rundown of the different models. We currently stock parts for the original Kindle, Kindle 2, and many models of the Kindle Fire. And if you ever have questions about replacement parts of any kind, our customer service department is always ready to help.

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