*NEWS*SMOOTHER TONER COULD LEAD TO …..

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*NEWS*SMOOTHER TONER COULD LEAD TO …..

 user 2007-06-21 at 2:08:00 pm Views: 62
  • #18057

    Smoother toner could lead to smaller, cheaper color laser printers
    June 
    2007 -The much-trumpeted paperless office was last reported vanishing
    under a tidal wave of documents back in the early 80s. After extensive
    investigations, the culprit was found to be the laser printer. These
    printers had the advantage of being relatively inexpensive with
    reasonable print quality and were heavy enough that the boss could use
    it to anchor his fifty-foot yacht. The black-and-white laser printer
    has continued to improve: small footprint, better quality output at a
    faster speed, and much, much cheaper. Color laser printers have lagged
    behind their black-and-white brethren, and the reason, apparently, is
    in the toner. But Science has a review article that hints at much
    cheaper and smaller color laser printers in the pipeline.The article in
    question is a review of electrostatics, which one of my university
    lecturers described as a necessary evil on the way to electrodynamics.
    One recent discovery in the field is that, given a certain value of
    charge and a certain surface area, the strength of the adhesion will
    vary depending on the number of contact points, even though the charge
    is still evenly distributed. This is due to the fact that charge comes
    in fixed units of electrons (and protons, but electrostatics is almost
    entirely about electrons).Small points of contact act to magnify the
    effects of charge differences, as even a single electron difference
    creates a large electric field in its immediate vicinity. Put simply,
    spiky contacts are held very strongly, while smooth contacts adhere to
    each other much more weakly. Here’s how it could lead to cheaper laser
    printers.

    Svelte color laser printers
    This
    strong adhesion, when combined with the poor precision control in
    today’s color laser printers are what make them bulky and expensive.
    The current generation avoids this problem by using a combination of
    magnetic particles that have smaller polymeric particles adhering to
    them as “ink.” The adhesion between the big and small particles is a
    product of their mutual electrostatic charge, making the whole
    electrically neutral.The particles are then steered using the magnetic
    properties of the inner particle to the correct region on a drum, which
    has been charged in a mirror image of the desired print pattern. This
    strips off the large inner particle while leaving the toner particles
    stuck to the correct region of the drum. Finally, the charged polymers
    are stuck on the paper and cooked. The requirements for both
    electrostatic and magnetic control systems are what make color laser
    printers expensive and bulky.To avoid using a magnetic field to control
    the toner deposition, the researchers have developed a new toner that
    comes wrapped in its own shell, giving it a very smooth surface that is
    much less sticky. This much weaker adhesion means that the positioning
    of the toner can be done using electrostatics alone. In turn, the laser
    printer can be much smaller using a control system that is very similar
    to normal laser printer—though with a touch of the three headed ink-jet
    printer thrown in.It was bad enough to be drowning in black and white
    copies of rubbish, now we will have to contend with colored bits of
    paper flying around the office too—if the new toner works out.