Inkless Paper Developed

Phys.org reports on a breakthrough in printing: paper that uses ultraviolet light to print on coated paper. The paper can be heated to 250°F to erase what was printed and re-written to it up to 80 times (re-writable paper).  The researchers believe that this paper, which uses ultraviolet light to speed up chemical reactions between titanium dioxide and Prussian Blue [Bob Ross, anyone?] pigment, can be produced cheaply on a commercial scale. Given that all the required materials – paper, titanium dioxide (already heavily used in beauty products/makeup, sunscreen, and as pigments for medicines, toothpaste, lipstick, creams, etc.), Prussian Blue pigment/dye, and ultraviolet bulbs – are all inexpensive means the materials are likely to be affordable. However, there are a few drawbacks:

  • Blue text only (no black or full color printing)
    • It is possible that they find other pigment/catalyst combinations in the future that would allow for printing in other colors or black
  • Starts to fade back to all blue after 5 days
  • Slow to print
    • The researchers are working on this as they develop the first laser printer for for the coated paper

That being said there are a number of improvements over conventional ink/paper printing:

  • More environmentally friendly
    • Paper can be reused up to 80 times
      • Less paper needs produced, which is a big contributor of environmental waste
    • Less paper in landfills
    • Requires no ink
      • Cheaper
      • Better for the environment as inks can be toxic to animals

The research was conducted as coop between Shandong University (China), University of California, Riverside, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

https://phys.org/news/2017-02-ink-required-paper.html

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