Saturday, March 17, 2012

University of Cambridge develops device that erases the printed paper

Is usual to find, next to areas of reprographics or printing of any office, a recycling bin for paper that is usually full of papers printed by mistake, pages that were printed for a meeting or papers were sent to print and person who sent you forgot to pick up work. Now that many companies are adjusting structural costs to cut costs, spending on printing and paper is one of the many companies reviewed, both in economic terms as the protection of the environment. Thinking of saving paper, a team from the University of Cambridge has been working on an "anti-printer" can clear a paper printed by a laser printer for recycling in the office and can be reused .

Typically, in a laser printer, as its name implies, uses a laser to ionize positively charged areas of the paper on which to print and which are projected toner particles are negatively charged and are attracted to these areas, then through the printer fuser heat the paper and the ink adheres to it, giving your printed paper output. In the case of anti-printer, a laser is used triggering light pulses, of a few picoseconds in duration, which serve to detach toner without damaging the paper. Using a green light laser, the beam is absorbed by the toner (colored black) by heating until the ink particles emerge but, however, this light passes through the paper pulp without altering their structure.

The work was carried out by David Ricardo Leal, and J. Ayala M. Allwood Engineering Department, University of Cambridge in collaboration with M. Schmidt and I. Alexeev of Lehrstuhl für Photonische Technologien (Institute of Photonic Technology) of the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and published in the Proceedings of The Royal Society.

What use can have a system? For starters, this printer could save tons of paper in business and government and therefore could be avoided carbon emissions associated with the paper industry (in addition to the trees would be saved from logging). What about recycling paper does not do that already? Yes, that's one of the objectives of the paper recycling but the recycling process also leaves a carbon footprint (CO2 emissions) of its own activity is not negligible. Indeed, the anti-Cambridge printer produces half the emissions of CO2 (carbon footprint from electricity consumption) the recycling of paper in the conventional industry but today, we may be able to achieve something away from this technology in a commercial circuit.

A laser light source capable of emitting pulses of the order of picoseconds is something that, for now, is available to a few research centers and, therefore, it is difficult that may be developed to commercial devices in the offices sited short term. Still, it's a pretty interesting invention.

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