Reloading paper trays and replacing ink cartridges, that’s the life of a person who works with printers! But what if I tell you that you won’t have to do either of these things with the latest printer technology!
Behold printers from the future that don’t require even a single drop of ink but create images at impossibly high resolutions! This new laser printer is brought to us by researchers at the Technical University of Denmark, and “prints” super detailed patterns by simply etching them onto sheets of plastic on a microscopic scale!
The researchers took inspiration from butterflies and peacocks who have bright and colorful wings and feathers not via light-absorbing pigments but by bending and scattering light at the molecular level and creating “structural color.”
The technique uses sheets of plastic that are laid with thousands of microscopic pillars each 200 nanometers apart. These tiny plastic pillars help produce color when they’re covered with a thin layer of germanium, which is a shiny, grayish-white metalloid material. An ultra-fine laser is used to blast the germanium until it melts onto each pillar, which changes their shapes and thickness in a strategic fashion. And a protective coating and is applied to preserve the shape and structure of the tiny pillars.
The mere orientation of alignment of the pillars is enough to bend the light waves and change their wavelength to produce different colors. The researchers predicted the exact colors that were produced by nanoscale pillars and by weaving specific patterns they were able to create high-contrast images.
The pictures are so high definition that in comparison to the average desktop inkjet resolution of around 5,000 dots per inch and laser printers’ 20,000 dots per inch, this new technology can generate a whopping resolution of 127,000 dots per square inch. This resolution makes it ideal for anti-counterfeiting applications since it is capable of creating a high-resolution watermark that is smaller than a pin head.
The technology will not be replacing your average home printer anytime soon, but once it does, it can rid us from the hassle of changing ink cartilages and reloading printer’s paper trays.
Watch the video below to watch the technology in action.