Reckless use of paper products is a major factor behind deforestation and industrial pollution. In a bid to cut down the adverse environmental effects; the researchers from Shandong University in China have invented a new type of “paper” that can be used for up to 80 times. The paper can be created using color-changing chemistry of nanoparticles to apply a thin coating to a variety of surfaces, including a conventional paper, making it reusable.
The nanoparticles are made out of titanium dioxide and are mixed with Prussian blue pigment, which goes colorless when its particles gain electrons. These pigments are exposed to UV light which results in chemical reactions. After about five days at room temperature or 10 minutes at 250°F, the paper fades back to solid blue while erasing all writing.
The Chinese researchers were accompanied by scientists from University of California, Riverside and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and they have recently published the study with the details of the incredible rewritable paper.
“The greatest significance of our work is the development of a new class of solid-state photo-reversible color-switching system to produce an ink-free light-printable rewritable paper that has the same feel and appearance as conventional paper, but can be printed and erased repeatedly without the need for additional ink,”
says Yadong Yin, who is a professor of chemistry at the University of California, Riverside.
“Our work is believed to have enormous economic and environmental merits to modern society.”
The Phys.org explains that the chemicals used in the process of ink removal for recycling paper are leading sources of industrial pollution. The abandoned paper constitutes about 40 percent of the landfill contents.
Photocatalytic Color Switching for High-Performance Light-Printable Rewritable Paper https://t.co/JqFu8pK4PO @Shandongdaxue @UCRiverside pic.twitter.com/pJFRJKfYBc
— Nano Letters (@NanoLetters) January 17, 2017
A UV light printer can print on the paper using white text on a blue background or print the background itself resulting in the blue text against a white background. This method of coating can be used for over 80 times on a single sheet of paper before it has to be thrown away.
The researchers hope that they can print in full color one day using a similar system.
“We believe the rewritable paper has many practical applications involving temporary information recording and reading, such as newspapers, magazines, posters, notepads, writing easels, product life indicators, oxygen sensors, and rewritable labels for various applications,” Yin said
They are currently building a laser printer compatible with the light-printable paper. Are you excited about using this state-of-the-art paper?