Nanotechnology provides innovative printed images

17 August 2012

Posted by Satvir Bhullar

The science of nanotechnology has been applied to printing and has resulted in full-spectrum, high-resolution images.

Experts in Singapore have demonstrated an innovative new method of printing that delivers images at 100,000 dots per inch (dpi), which could have a range of future applications.

The researchers from *STAR’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) explained the sharp, full-spectrum colour images were inspired by stained glass windows - which are made by mixing metal fragments into glass - and created using "metal-laced nanometer-sized structures".

Rather than treating colouring as a printing matter, the new method applies a lithographic technique to surfaces designed to reflect light and achieve coloured images, with colour information encoded into tiny metal disks.

"The resolution of printed colour images very much depends on the size and spacing between individual 'nanodots' of colour", researcher Dr Karthik Kumar commented, explaining that the technique involves accurately positioning dots to reach a resolution of 100,000 dpi.

Potential uses for the printing technique include reflective colour displays, high-density optical data recording and anti-counterfeiting measures.

Innovation in the printing industry is resulting in significant breakthroughs in the field of manufacturing, with an engineer from the University of Southern California recently reporting that scaling up 3D printing technology could result in a house being created within 24 hours.

According to Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis, Contour Crafting layered fabrication production could offer the means of building a 2,500 sq ft property in less than a day, including all fixtures and fittings by depositing concrete in a series of layers, the Daily Mail reports.

Professor Khoshnevis explained: "Contour Crafting technology has the potential to build safe, reliable, and affordable lunar and Martian structures, habitats, laboratories, and other facilities before the arrival of human beings."

He advocates employing a moving gantry to build up properties in "printed" layers that would provide reinforced walls, plumbing and electrical systems.

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