*NEWS*XEROX PRODUCES ERASABLE PAPER

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*NEWS*XEROX PRODUCES ERASABLE PAPER

 user 2007-05-24 at 10:25:00 am Views: 75
  • #17920

    Xerox produces erasable paper
    MAY 2007 SINCE the advent of computers and an increase of environmental concerns, paper was supposed to fall out of favour as a storage medium.It didn’t, and when researchers at Xerox discovered that two out of five photocopies ended up in the recycling bin at the end of the day, they decided to do something about it.
    And now, what Xerox calls erasable paper, is being developed.

    Although the technology is still in a preliminary state, it blurs the line between paper documents and digital displays and could lead to a big reduction in paper use, according to Paul Smith, who is not only direct marketing program manager at Xerox’s research centre in Canada but manages the company’s new materials design and synthesis laboratory.Dr Smith says the increasing use of paper was a catalyst for the research.From talking to customers, researchers learnt that people want re-usability but don’t want to lose the attributes of paper, he says.”Give them paper so they can still write on it and take it to a meeting,” he says.To develop erasable paper, Xerox needed to identify ways to create temporary images.It did this by developing compounds that change colour when they absorb a certain wavelength of light but then gradually disappear.The paper self-erases in about 16 to 24 hours and can be used many times. Smith says it’s a similar process to that used in making photochromatic lenses on eye spectacles. (Photochromatic glass is a material whose optical properties can be altered electrically.)Smith’s lab in Canada developed the paper that creates the image and Xerox’s Palo Alto research centre created the image bar that can write the image on to special paper and developed a prototype printer that creates the image on the paper using a light bar that provides a specific wavelength of light as a writing source.The process works without toner and produces a low-resolution document that appears to be printed with purple ink.The written image fades naturally within 16 hours or can be immediately erased by exposing it to heat.According to Xerox, individual pieces of paper have been used up to 50 times, the only limit in the process being paper life.Smith says, however, that erasable paper is still a development project, Xerox needing to work with business divisions to see where it would go.The price of the erasable paper will also be critical to its success in the marketplace and the aim is to keep its cost to within three times that of regular paperXerox’s research in erasable paper is one of the company’s continuing investments in “green products” that deliver measurable benefits to the environment.Another is solid-ink printing technology, which generates 90 per cent less waste than comparable laser printers.