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I saw this display on Adafruit.

enter image description here

enter image description here

They describe it as a mix of an e-ink (the low power consumption) and an LCD (the fast response time). And further as "a matt silver background, and pixels show up as little mirrors for a silver-reflective display".

Does anyone know what this display technology is called?

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Looks like a sharp memory lcd to me. From google image search:

enter image description here

They use variations of polymer stabilized liquid crystals such as PNLC (Polymer Network Liquid Crystal), which all have in common that they are in a stabilized gel-like form, allowing for a greatly reduced power consumption to keep the electrical field for the orientation of the polarizing elements active. Variants have been described (though I am not sure if this applies to sharp ones in particular) that only consume significant power for black pixels (and of course any switching).

In small sizes like those, you only need microamps to keep the image stable, which makes them suitable in energy harvesting environments.

However this all comes at a drawback: Most versions are only available in black/white (instead of grayscale), and the switch rate is in the order of visibly many milliseconds (although at least in the lab there have been improvements).

Unfortunatley the last time I tried searching for them, the mirror background ones were not available, at least in quantities. Hopefully this has changed...

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    \$\begingroup\$ If you add to your answer that PNLC stands for "Polymer Network Liquid Crystal", I can upvote it. (Sharp is a brand, not a technology) \$\endgroup\$ – Joris Groosman May 21 '15 at 9:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does it retain the image without power? \$\endgroup\$ – pjc50 May 21 '15 at 9:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JorisGroosman: kleenex was once just a company too ;) \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH May 21 '15 at 9:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @pjc50: nope, but it requires really so tiny amounts that usually the self discharge of your battery draws more. \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH May 21 '15 at 10:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ But Kleenex/kleenex still doesn't describe a technology. And "Sharp" has never been a common name for any display technology \$\endgroup\$ – Joris Groosman May 21 '15 at 10:04
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From your Adafruit link under "Technical Details": Datasheet for the LS013B4DN04

On page 7:

This TFT-LCD module is a reflective active matrix memory liquid crystal display module with CG silicone thin film transistor.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Just to note, it should be silicon and not silicone. There is an error in the datasheet (CG stands for continuous grain, to distinguish it from amorphous Si). Actually, the datasheet also refers to "silicon adhesive" where clearly "silicone" was meant. It is curious for these two to be so mixed up. \$\endgroup\$ – Oleksandr R. May 21 '15 at 16:58
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From the comments of others, it does look to be based on LCD technology. There is one way to determine this: LCD technology rely on incorporating polarised filters. If you have in your possession a powered up display, and a pair of polarised sunglasses, view the display through the polarised sunglasses and rotate the sunglasses. If the display contains polarisation filters, when viewed through the sunglasses it will turn black and hence it's probably LCD based.

E-ink technology doesn't incorporate polarisation filters and so if you try this technique on an e-ink screen, the screen will not turn black when viewed through rotating polarised sunglasses.

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