Inkjet is unique amongst printing technologies, there is no other option to print on such a wide varieties of substrates with such efficiency and ease. Just how does it work, and what does it all mean to a print buyer?
When Germans come across some fine spirits or wines, they often colloquially say “Das ist aber ein gutes Tröpfchen”, which may roughly be translated as “this indeed is a very fine little drop”. This is not a common English phrase, but still is just the perfect way to describe inkjet inks: very, very fine drops.
Inkjet printheads in modern small-format photo printers are able to jet drops as small as 1pL (a picolitre which is one trillionth of a litre), while high quality wide-format inkjet printheads usually offer around 10pL as their smallest drop size. Tiny drop sizes are generally desirable, because they guarantee fine detail, crisp type and perfect gradients. The nozzles to achieve this have to be minuscule. So as not to clog these, particle sizes in inkjet ink are usually under 200 nanometres in diameter, while in an analogue dispersion they are bigger than 10 micrometres.
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