Inkjet Color Printing by Interference Nanostructures

Authors: Yakovlev A.V., Malichko V.A., Vinogradov V.V., Vinogradov A.V.


Color printing technology is developing rapidly; in less than 40 years, it moved from dot matrix printers with an ink-soaked cloth ribbon to 3D printers used to make three-dimensional color objects. Nevertheless, what remained unchanged over this time is the fact that in each case, dye inks (CMYK or RGB color schemes) were exclusively used for coloring, which inevitably limits the technological possibilities and color reproduction. As a next step in printing color images and storing information, we propose the technology of producing optical nanostructures. In this paper, we report use of inkjet technology to create colored interference layers with high accuracy without the need for high-temperature fixing. This was made possible due to using titania-based colloidal ink yielding monolithic coatings with a high refractive index (2.00 ± 0.08 over the entire visible range) when naturally dried. By controlling the film thickness by using inkjet deposition, we produced images based on controlled interference and implementing color printing with one ink. The lack of dyes in the proposed method has good environmental prospects, because applied systems based on a crystalline anatase sol are nontoxic and biologically inert. The paper explains in detail the principle of producing interference images by the classical inkjet method and shows the advantages of this technique in depositing coatings with uniform thickness, which are required for large-scale interference color imaging even on unprepared polymer films. This article demonstrates the possibility of inkjet printing of nanostructures with a precision in thickness of up to 50 nm, we believe that the proposed approach will be the groundwork for developing interference color printing approach and allow to implement new methods of forming optical nano-objects by widely available techniques.

DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.5b06074

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