Beijing: Chinese scientists have created a printer that uses only water to print instead of ink. After about 22 hours, the paper fades back to a plain sheet of white paper, allowing it to be reused. The trick lies in the paper, which is treated with an invisible dye that colours when exposed to water, then disappears.
According to scientists at Jilin University in Changchun, China, the printed characters last for a day on a special paper that can then be re-used. “Every time you print, it’s fresh,” Sean Zhang, professor of chemistry, was quoted as saying. “We are using a commercially available inkjet printer. We just filled the cartridges with water and put it back. It’s like normal printing. The magic is in the paper.”
The team developed a special coating on the paper that responds to the water. They were able to print various Chinese and English characters using blue, magenta gold and purple colours, using water as a key that activates the dye molecule.
“The next step is to combine colours to go black,” Zhang added. According to Kira Barton, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan, “going toward more sustainable techniques of printing is helpful and beneficial”.
The technology does not require changing a printer but only replacing the ink in the cartridge with H20, using a syringe. The team published the result of their experiment in the Nature Communications journal.
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