Scientists Print Color Images At 100,000 dpi Resolution
Tech & Pharma
August 20, 2012
Inspired by colorful stained-glass windows, researchers from Singapore have produced sharp, full-spectrum color images at the optical diffraction limit.
AsianScientist (Aug. 20, 2012) – Inspired by colorful stained-glass windows, researchers from Singapore have produced sharp, full-spectrum color images at 100,000 dots per inch (dpi).
The research, published last week in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, was carried out at the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), an institute of Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).
Using metal-laced nanometer-sized structures, the team developed an innovative method for creating sharp, full-spectrum color images at 100,000 dpi without the need for inks or dyes.
In comparison, current industrial printers such as inkjet and laserjet printers can only achieve resolutions of up to 10,000 dpi while research grade methods are able to dispense dyes for only single color images.
This novel breakthrough allows coloring to be treated not as an inking matter but as a lithographic matter, which can potentially revolutionize the way images are printed and be further developed for use in high-resolution reflective color displays as well as high density optical data storage.
The inspiration for the research was derived from stained glass, which is traditionally made by mixing tiny fragments of metal into the glass. It was found that nanoparticles from these metal fragments scattered light passing through the glass to give stained glass its colors.
Using a similar concept with the help of modern nanotechnology tools, the researchers precisely patterned metal nanostructures to reflect light to achieve color images, a phenomenon known as plasmon resonance, explained senior author Dr. Joel Yang.
“The resolution of printed color images very much depends on the size and spacing between individual ‘nanodots’ of color,” said lead author Dr. Karthik Kumar.
“The closer the dots are together and because of their small size, the higher the resolution of the image. With the ability to accurately position these extremely small color dots, we were able to demonstrate the highest theoretical print color resolution of 100,000 dpi,” he added.
The researchers from IMRE also collaborated with A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) to design the pattern using computer simulation and modeling.
They are currently exploring opportunities to license the technology with Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd (ETPL), A*STAR’s technology transfer arm.
The article can be found at: Kumar K et al. (2012) Printing color at the optical diffraction limit.
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