Magic ink to revolutionise full-colour printing
Magic ink developed by South Korean engineers is set to revolutionise full-colour printing. The M-Ink can be used to produce any colour in the visible spectrum and could lead to a new method of cheap and instant full-colour printing.india Updated: Aug 27, 2009 18:14 IST
Magic ink developed by South Korean engineers is set to revolutionise full-colour printing.
The M-Ink can be used to produce any colour in the visible spectrum and could lead to a new method of cheap and instant full-colour printing.
The research team led by Sunghoon Kwon at Seoul National University in South Korea borrowed the novel idea from nature.
Many insects and birds owe their bright colours to the interaction of light with fine-patterned surface textures.
Researchers have long experimented with replicating these so- called structural colours in synthetic materials.
According to Kwon, M-Ink contains three ingredients: magnetic nanoparticles 100 to 200 nanometres across, a solvation liquid, and a resin.
The nanoparticles disperse throughout the resin, giving the ink a brown appearance. But after applying an external magnetic field, the nanoparticles immediately snap to the magnetic field lines, forming chain-like structures.
He said regularly-spaced nanoparticle chains interfere with incoming light, so that the light reflected from the surface is of a particular colour.
"Adjusting the magnetic field strength shifts the spacing of the field lines and changes the colour," New Scientist quoted him as saying.
After the desired colour is produced the nanoparticles can be fixed in place by exposing the ink to UV light, which cures the resin
"You can pattern A4-size [letter-size] full-colour prints within a second," Kwon said.
"You can build papers displaying unique features on application of an external magnetic field," he added.
The study is published in Nature Photonics.