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High Density Ink-Jet Array Printhead Development

MicroFab has developed array drop-on-demand piezoelectric ink-jet print head technology for use in high speed, photorealistic printing. Line arrays of 120 individual channels are fabricated into less than one inch (170um spacings). The technology embodied by this print head is covered by forty (40) U.S. patents, with several pending. The figures below show the micromachined channels and walls (each 85um wide) before attachment of an orifice plate, and a fully assembled printhead with driver IC's on board.

Photorealistic Ink Jet Printing Through Dynamic Spot Size Control

As part of this print head technology developments effort, we have developed technology for dynamically modulating the drop volume. A 4:1 range of volume modulation has been achieved to date, resulting in a 4:1 range in printed spot area. The modulation is continuous (i.e., not discrete) over a significant part of the total range. The print quality achieved is illustrated in the figure below.

Image of fixed spot vs. modulated spot printing
using the same ink-jet print head and 300 dpi resolution.

The array printhead design and manufacturing methods, and the spot size modulation technology were developed by MicroFab for Compaq Computer Corporation. Over 40 patents have been issued covering this technology, and they are available for licensing.