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Número de publicaciónUS20100271434 A1
Tipo de publicaciónSolicitud
Número de solicitudUS 12/831,251
Fecha de publicación28 Oct 2010
Fecha de presentación6 Jul 2010
Fecha de prioridad9 Jun 1998
También publicado comoUS6247790, US6488358, US6505912, US6672708, US6712986, US6886918, US6899415, US6966633, US6969153, US6979075, US6981757, US6998062, US7021746, US7086721, US7093928, US7104631, US7131717, US7140720, US7156494, US7156498, US7179395, US7182436, US7188933, US7204582, US7284326, US7284833, US7325904, US7326357, US7334877, US7381342, US7399063, US7413671, US7438391, US7520593, US7533967, US7568790, US7637594, US7708386, US7753490, US7758161, US7857426, US7922296, US7931353, US7934809, US7942507, US7997687, US20010035896, US20020021331, US20020040887, US20020047875, US20030071876, US20030107615, US20030112296, US20030164868, US20040080580, US20040080582, US20040113982, US20040118807, US20040179067, US20050036000, US20050041066, US20050078150, US20050099461, US20050116993, US20050134650, US20050200656, US20050243132, US20050270336, US20050270337, US20060007268, US20060214990, US20060219656, US20060227176, US20060232629, US20070013743, US20070034597, US20070034598, US20070080135, US20070139471, US20070139472, US20080094449, US20080117261, US20080192091, US20080211843, US20080316269, US20090073233, US20090195621, US20090207208, US20090267993, US20100073430, US20100207997, US20100277551, US20120019601
Número de publicación12831251, 831251, US 2010/0271434 A1, US 2010/271434 A1, US 20100271434 A1, US 20100271434A1, US 2010271434 A1, US 2010271434A1, US-A1-20100271434, US-A1-2010271434, US2010/0271434A1, US2010/271434A1, US20100271434 A1, US20100271434A1, US2010271434 A1, US2010271434A1
InventoresKia Silverbrook, Gregory John McAvoy
Cesionario originalSilverbrook Research Pty Ltd
Exportar citaBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Enlaces externos: USPTO, Cesión de USPTO, Espacenet
Printhead with movable ejection orifice
US 20100271434 A1
Resumen
An inkjet printhead that has a first layer with an opening, a second layer with a hole and a flexible element supported by the second layer. The flexible element has an orifice through which ink is ejected. An actuator deflects the flexible element to force the ink through the orifice. The hole and the opening are in fluid communication to supply ink to the flexible element.
Imágenes(16)
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Reclamaciones(14)
1. An inkjet printhead comprising:
a first layer with an opening;
a second layer with a hole;
a flexible element supported by the second layer and having an orifice defined therein;
an actuator for configured to deflect the flexible element in response to receiving an electrical pulse; wherein,
the hole and the opening are in fluid communication with the orifice to eject ink by deflecting the flexible element.
2. An inkjet printhead according to claim 1 wherein the actuator has conductive material that generates heats in response to the electrical pulse, the conductive material being positioned such that the flexible element deflects from a differential in thermal expansion of the flexible element immediately adjacent the heater element and the flexible element remote from the heater element.
3. An inkjet printhead according to claim 1 further comprising CMOS layers between the first layer and the second layer, the CMOS layers having circuitry for sending drive signals to the actuator, the CMOS layers also having holes in registration with the holes in the first layer for fluid communication with the opening in the second layer.
4. An inkjet printhead according to claim 1 wherein the flexible element is formed from material with a high coefficient of thermal expansion.
5. An inkjet printhead according to claim 4 wherein the flexible element fits within the opening in the second layer such that the second layer and the flexible element define an ink chamber, and the flexible element deflects towards the CMOS to eject ink through the orifice.
6. An inkjet printhead according to claim 5 wherein the flexible element further comprises cantilevered panels configured such that a free end of each cantilevered panel bends toward the CMOS layer to eject in through the orifice.
7. An inkjet printhead according to claim 6 wherein each of the cantilevered panels has sides and a free end that is spaced from other elements of the printhead by a gap that allows the respective panels to bend towards the CMOS layer without obstruction, the gap being sized in accordance with the ink properties such that surface tension avoids ink leakage through the gap.
8. An inkjet printhead according to claim 7 wherein the orifice is fixed relative to the substrate and the cantilevered panels are each fixed to the panels such that they extend radially outwards.
9. An inkjet printhead according to claim 8 wherein each of the cantilevered panels has an inner side that faces the ink chamber interior and an outer side facing away from the ink chamber interior such that heating the outer side of the panel relative to the inner side deflects it towards the CMOS layer.
10. An inkjet printhead according to claim 9 wherein the actuator has a conductor adjacent the outer side such that the conductor heats the outer side of the cantilevered panels via Joule heating in response to a drive pulse from the CMOS layer.
11. An inkjet printhead according to claim 10 wherein the conductor follows a serpentine path to distribute to heat more evenly across the respective outer sides of the cantilevered panels.
12. An inkjet printhead according to claim 11 wherein the conductor is embedded in the outer surface.
13. An inkjet printhead according to claim 12 wherein the cantilevered panels are formed from material with a high coefficient of thermal expansion relative to that of the first and second layers of the substrate.
14. An inkjet printhead according to claim 13 wherein the cantilevered panels are formed from polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).
Descripción
    CROSS REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    The present application is a Continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/743,662 filed May 2, 2007, which is a Continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/225,157 filed on Sep. 14, 2005, now issued U.S. Pat. No. 7,399,063, which is a Continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/854,703 filed on 14 May 2001, now issued U.S. Pat. No. 6,981,757, which is a Continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/112,806 filed Jul. 10, 1998, now issued U.S. Pat. No. 6,247,790, the entire contents of which are herein incorporated by reference.
  • [0002]
    The following Australian provisional patent applications/granted numbers are hereby incorporated by cross-reference. For the purposes of location and identification, U.S. patent applications identified by their U.S. patent application Ser. Nos. (USSN)/granted numbers are listed alongside the Australian applications from which the U.S. patent applications claim the right of priority.
  • [0000]
    CROSS- US PATENT/
    REFERENCED PATENT APPLICATION
    AUSTRALIAN (CLAIMING RIGHT
    PROVISIONAL OF PRIORITY FROM
    PATENT AUSTRALIAN
    APPLICATION No. PROVISIONAL APPLICATION) DOCKET No.
    PO7991 6,750,901 ART01
    PO8505 6,476,863 ART02
    PO7988 6,788,336 ART03
    PO9395 6,322,181 ART04
    PO8017 6,597,817 ART06
    PO8014 6,227,648 ART07
    PO8025 6,727,948 ART08
    PO8032 6,690,419 ART09
    PO7999 6,727,951 ART10
    PO8030 6,196,541 ART13
    PO7997 6,195,150 ART15
    PO7979 6,362,868 ART16
    PO7978 6,831,681 ART18
    PO7982 6,431,669 ART19
    PO7989 6,362,869 ART20
    PO8019 6,472,052 ART21
    PO7980 6,356,715 ART22
    PO8018 6,894,694 ART24
    PO7938 6,636,216 ART25
    PO8016 6,366,693 ART26
    PO8024 6,329,990 ART27
    PO7939 6,459,495 ART29
    PO8501 6,137,500 ART30
    PO8500 6,690,416 ART31
    PO7987 7,050,143 ART32
    PO8022 6,398,328 ART33
    PO8497 7,110,024 ART34
    PO8020 6,431,704 ART38
    PO8504 6,879,341 ART42
    PO8000 6,415,054 ART43
    PO7934 6,665,454 ART45
    PO7990 6,542,645 ART46
    PO8499 6,486,886 ART47
    PO8502 6,381,361 ART48
    PO7981 6,317,192 ART50
    PO7986 6,850,274 ART51
    PO8026 6,646,757 ART53
    PO8028 6,624,848 ART56
    PO9394 6,357,135 ART57
    PO9397 6,271,931 ART59
    PO9398 6,353,772 ART60
    PO9399 6,106,147 ART61
    PO9400 6,665,008 ART62
    PO9401 6,304,291 ART63
    PO9403 6,305,770 ART65
    PO9405 6,289,262 ART66
    PP0959 6,315,200 ART68
    PP1397 6,217,165 ART69
    PP2370 6,786,420 DOT01
    PO8003 6,350,023 Fluid01
    PO8005 6,318,849 Fluid02
    PO8066 6,227,652 IJ01
    PO8072 6,213,588 IJ02
    PO8040 6,213,589 IJ03
    PO8071 6,231,163 IJ04
    PO8047 6,247,795 IJ05
    PO8035 6,394,581 IJ06
    PO8044 6,244,691 IJ07
    PO8063 6,257,704 IJ08
    PO8057 6,416,168 IJ09
    PO8056 6,220,694 IJ10
    PO8069 6,257,705 IJ11
    PO8049 6,247,794 IJ12
    PO8036 6,234,610 IJ13
    PO8048 6,247,793 IJ14
    PO8070 6,264,306 IJ15
    PO8067 6,241,342 IJ16
    PO8001 6,247,792 IJ17
    PO8038 6,264,307 IJ18
    PO8033 6,254,220 IJ19
    PO8002 6,234,611 IJ20
    PO8068 6,302,528 IJ21
    PO8062 6,283,582 IJ22
    PO8034 6,239,821 IJ23
    PO8039 6,338,547 IJ24
    PO8041 6,247,796 IJ25
    PO8004 6,557,977 IJ26
    PO8037 6,390,603 IJ27
    PO8043 6,362,843 IJ28
    PO8042 6,293,653 IJ29
    PO8064 6,312,107 IJ30
    PO9389 6,227,653 IJ31
    PO9391 6,234,609 IJ32
    PP0888 6,238,040 IJ33
    PP0891 6,188,415 IJ34
    PP0890 6,227,654 IJ35
    PP0873 6,209,989 IJ36
    PP0993 6,247,791 IJ37
    PP0890 6,336,710 IJ38
    PP1398 6,217,153 IJ39
    PP2592 6,416,167 IJ40
    PP2593 6,243,113 IJ41
    PP3991 6,283,581 IJ42
    PP3987 6,247,790 IJ43
    PP3985 6,260,953 IJ44
    PP3983 6,267,469 IJ45
    PO7935 6,224,780 IJM01
    PO7936 6,235,212 IJM02
    PO7937 6,280,643 IJM03
    PO8061 6,284,147 IJM04
    PO8054 6,214,244 IJM05
    PO8065 6,071,750 IJM06
    PO8055 6,267,905 IJM07
    PO8053 6,251,298 IJM08
    PO8078 6,258,285 IJM09
    PO7933 6,225,138 IJM10
    PO7950 6,241,904 IJM11
    PO7949 6,299,786 IJM12
    PO8060 6,866,789 IJM13
    PO8059 6,231,773 IJM14
    PO8073 6,190,931 IJM15
    PO8076 6,248,249 IJM16
    PO8075 6,290,862 IJM17
    PO8079 6,241,906 IJM18
    PO8050 6,565,762 IJM19
    PO8052 6,241,905 IJM20
    PO7948 6,451,216 IJM21
    PO7951 6,231,772 IJM22
    PO8074 6,274,056 IJM23
    PO7941 6,290,861 IJM24
    PO8077 6,248,248 IJM25
    PO8058 6,306,671 IJM26
    PO8051 6,331,258 IJM27
    PO8045 6,111,754 IJM28
    PO7952 6,294,101 IJM29
    PO8046 6,416,679 IJM30
    PO9390 6,264,849 IJM31
    PO9392 6,254,793 IJM32
    PP0889 6,235,211 IJM35
    PP0887 6,491,833 IJM36
    PP0882 6,264,850 IJM37
    PP0874 6,258,284 IJM38
    PP1396 6,312,615 IJM39
    PP3989 6,228,668 IJM40
    PP2591 6,180,427 IJM41
    PP3990 6,171,875 IJM42
    PP3986 6,267,904 IJM43
    PP3984 6,245,247 IJM44
    PP3982 6,315,914 IJM45
    PP0895 6,231,148 IR01
    PP0869 6,293,658 IR04
    PP0887 6,614,560 IR05
    PP0885 6,238,033 IR06
    PP0884 6,312,070 IR10
    PP0886 6,238,111 IR12
    PP0877 6,378,970 IR16
    PP0878 6,196,739 IR17
    PP0883 6,270,182 IR19
    PP0880 6,152,619 IR20
    PO8006 6,087,638 MEMS02
    PO8007 6,340,222 MEMS03
    PO8010 6,041,600 MEMS05
    PO8011 6,299,300 MEMS06
    PO7947 6,067,797 MEMS07
    PO7944 6,286,935 MEMS09
    PO7946 6,044,646 MEMS10
    PP0894 6,382,769 MEMS13
  • STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
  • [0003]
    Not applicable.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0004]
    The present invention relates to the field of inkjet printing and, in particular, discloses an inverted radial back-curling thermoelastic ink jet printing mechanism.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0005]
    Many different types of printing mechanisms have been invented, a large number of which are presently in use. The known forms of printers have a variety of methods for marking the print media with a relevant marking media. Commonly used forms of printing include offset printing, laser printing and copying devices, dot matrix type impact printers, thermal paper printers, film recorders, thermal wax printers, dye sublimation printers and ink jet printers both of the drop on demand and continuous flow type. Each type of printer has its own advantages and problems when considering cost, speed, quality, reliability, simplicity of construction and operation etc.
  • [0006]
    In recent years the field of ink jet printing, wherein each individual pixel of ink is derived from one or more ink nozzles, has become increasingly popular primarily due to its inexpensive and versatile nature.
  • [0007]
    Many different techniques of ink jet printing have been invented. For a survey of the field, reference is made to an article by J Moore, “Non-Impact Printing: Introduction and Historical Perspective”, Output Hard Copy Devices, Editors R Dubeck and S Sherr, pages 207-220 (1988).
  • [0008]
    Ink Jet printers themselves come in many different forms. The utilization of a continuous stream of ink in ink jet printing appears to date back to at least 1929 wherein U.S. Pat. No. 1,941,001 by Hansell discloses a simple form of continuous stream electro-static ink jet printing.
  • [0009]
    U.S. Pat. No. 3,596,275 by Sweet also discloses a process of a continuous ink jet printing including a step wherein the ink jet stream is modulated by a high frequency electro-static field so as to cause drop separation. This technique is still utilized by several manufacturers including Elmjet and Scitex (see also U.S. Pat. No. 3,373,437 by Sweet et al).
  • [0010]
    Piezoelectric ink jet printers are also one form of commonly utilized ink jet printing device. Piezoelectric systems are disclosed by Kyser et. al. in U.S. Pat. No. 3,946,398 (1970) which utilizes a diaphragm mode of operation, by Zolten in U.S. Pat. No. 3,683,212 (1970) which discloses a squeeze mode form of operation of a piezoelectric crystal, Stemme in U.S. Pat. No. 3,747,120 (1972) which discloses a bend mode of piezoelectric operation, Howkins in U.S. Pat. No. 4,459,601 which discloses a piezoelectric push mode actuation of the ink jet stream and Fischbeck in U.S. Pat. No. 4,584,590 which discloses a shear mode type of piezoelectric transducer element.
  • [0011]
    Recently, thermal ink jet printing has become an extremely popular form of ink jet printing. The ink jet printing techniques include those disclosed by Endo et al in GB 2007162 (1979) and Vaught et al in U.S. Pat. No. 4,490,728. Both the aforementioned references disclose ink jet printing techniques which rely on the activation of an electrothermal actuator which results in the creation of a bubble in a constricted space, such as a nozzle, which thereby causes the ejection of ink from an aperture connected to the confined space onto a relevant print media. Printing devices utilizing the electro-thermal actuator are manufactured by manufacturers such as Canon and Hewlett Packard.
  • [0012]
    As can be seen from the foregoing, many different types of printing technologies are available. Ideally, a printing technology should have a number of desirable attributes. These include inexpensive construction and operation, high speed operation, safe and continuous long term operation etc. Each technology may have its own advantages and disadvantages in the areas of cost, speed, quality, reliability, power usage, simplicity of construction and operation, durability and consumables.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0013]
    In accordance with a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a nozzle arrangement for an ink jet printhead, the arrangement comprising: a nozzle chamber defined in a wafer substrate for the storage of ink to be ejected; an ink ejection port having a rim formed on one wall of the chamber; and a series of actuators attached to the wafer substrate, and forming a portion of the wall of the nozzle chamber adjacent the rim, the actuator paddles further being actuated in unison so as to eject ink from the nozzle chamber via the ink ejection nozzle.
  • [0014]
    The actuators can include a surface which bends inwards away from the centre of the nozzle chamber upon actuation. The actuators are preferably actuated by means of a thermal actuator device. The thermal actuator device may comprise a conductive resistive heating element encased within a material having a high coefficient of thermal expansion. The element can be serpentine to allow for substantially unhindered expansion of the material. The actuators are preferably arranged radially around the nozzle rim.
  • [0015]
    The actuators can form a membrane between the nozzle chamber and an external atmosphere of the arrangement and the actuators bend away from the external atmosphere to cause an increase in pressure within the nozzle chamber thereby initiating a consequential ejection of ink from the nozzle chamber. The actuators can bend away from a central axis of the nozzle chamber.
  • [0016]
    The nozzle arrangement can be formed on the wafer substrate utilizing micro-electro mechanical techniques and further can comprise an ink supply channel in communication with the nozzle chamber. The ink supply channel may be etched through the wafer. The nozzle arrangement may include a series of struts which support the nozzle rim.
  • [0017]
    The arrangement can be formed adjacent to neighbouring arrangements so as to form a pagewidth printhead.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0018]
    Notwithstanding any other forms which may fall within the scope of the present invention, preferred forms of the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
  • [0019]
    FIGS. 1-3 are schematic sectional views illustrating the operational principles of the preferred embodiment;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 4(A) and FIG. 4(B) are again schematic sections illustrating the operational principles of the thermal actuator device;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 5 is a side perspective view, partly in section, of a single nozzle arrangement constructed in accordance with the preferred embodiments;
  • [0022]
    FIGS. 6-13 are side perspective views, partly in section, illustrating the manufacturing steps of the preferred embodiments;
  • [0023]
    FIG. 14 illustrates an array of ink jet nozzles formed in accordance with the manufacturing procedures of the preferred embodiment;
  • [0024]
    FIG. 15 provides a legend of the materials indicated in FIGS. 16 to 23; and
  • [0025]
    FIG. 16 to FIG. 23 illustrate sectional views of the manufacturing steps in one form of construction of a nozzle arrangement in accordance with the invention.
  • DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED AND OTHER EMBODIMENTS
  • [0026]
    In the preferred embodiment, ink is ejected out of a nozzle chamber via an ink ejection port using a series of radially positioned thermal actuator devices that are arranged about the ink ejection port and are activated to pressurize the ink within the nozzle chamber thereby causing the ejection of ink through the ejection port.
  • [0027]
    Turning now to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, there is illustrated the basic operational principles of the preferred embodiment. FIG. 1 illustrates a single nozzle arrangement 1 in its quiescent state. The arrangement 1 includes a nozzle chamber 2 which is normally filled with ink so as to form a meniscus 3 in an ink ejection port 4. The nozzle chamber 2 is formed within a wafer 5. The nozzle chamber 2 is supplied with ink via an ink supply channel 6 which is etched through the wafer 5 with a highly isotropic plasma etching system. A suitable etcher can be the Advance Silicon Etch (ASE) system available from Surface Technology Systems of the United Kingdom.
  • [0028]
    A top of the nozzle arrangement 1 includes a series of radially positioned actuators 8, 9. These actuators comprise a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) layer and an internal serpentine copper core 17. Upon heating of the copper core 17, the surrounding PTFE expands rapidly resulting in a generally downward movement of the actuators 8, 9. Hence, when it is desired to eject ink from the ink ejection port 4, a current is passed through the actuators 8, 9 which results in them bending generally downwards as illustrated in FIG. 2. The downward bending movement of the actuators 8, 9 results in a substantial increase in pressure within the nozzle chamber 2. The increase in pressure in the nozzle chamber 2 results in an expansion of the meniscus 3 as illustrated in FIG. 2.
  • [0029]
    The actuators 8, 9 are activated only briefly and subsequently deactivated. Consequently, the situation is as illustrated in FIG. 3 with the actuators 8, 9 returning to their original positions. This results in a general inflow of ink back into the nozzle chamber 2 and a necking and breaking of the meniscus 3 resulting in the ejection of a drop 12. The necking and breaking of the meniscus 3 is a consequence of the forward momentum of the ink associated with drop 12 and the backward pressure experienced as a result of the return of the actuators 8, 9 to their original positions. The return of the actuators 8,9 also results in a general inflow of ink from the channel 6 as a result of surface tension effects and, eventually, the state returns to the quiescent position as illustrated in FIG. 1.
  • [0030]
    FIGS. 4( a) and 4(b) illustrate the principle of operation of the thermal actuator. The thermal actuator is preferably constructed from a material 14 having a high coefficient of thermal expansion. Embedded within the material 14 are a series of heater elements 15 which can be a series of conductive elements designed to carry a current. The conductive elements 15 are heated by passing a current through the elements 15 with the heating resulting in a general increase in temperature in the area around the heating elements 15. The position of the elements 15 is such that uneven heating of the material 14 occurs. The uneven increase in temperature causes a corresponding uneven expansion of the material 14. Hence, as illustrated in FIG. 4( b), the PTFE is bent generally in the direction shown.
  • [0031]
    In FIG. 5, there is illustrated a side perspective view of one embodiment of a nozzle arrangement constructed in accordance with the principles previously outlined. The nozzle chamber 2 is formed with an isotropic surface etch of the wafer 5. The wafer 5 can include a CMOS layer including all the required power and drive circuits. Further, the actuators 8, 9 each have a leaf or petal formation which extends towards a nozzle rim 28 defining the ejection port 4. The normally inner end of each leaf or petal formation is displaceable with respect to the nozzle rim 28. Each activator 8, 9 has an internal copper core 17 defining the element 15. The core 17 winds in a serpentine manner to provide for substantially unhindered expansion of the actuators 8, 9. The operation of the actuators 8, 9 is as illustrated in FIG. 4( a) and FIG. 4( b) such that, upon activation, the actuators 8 bend as previously described resulting in a displacement of each petal formation away from the nozzle rim 28 and into the nozzle chamber 2. The ink supply channel 6 can be created via a deep silicon back edge of the wafer 5 utilizing a plasma etcher or the like. The copper or aluminium core 17 can provide a complete circuit. A central arm 18 which can include both metal and PTFE portions provides the main structural support for the actuators 8, 9.
  • [0032]
    Turning now to FIG. 6 to FIG. 13, one form of manufacture of the nozzle arrangement 1 in accordance with the principles of the preferred embodiment is shown. The nozzle arrangement 1 is preferably manufactured using microelectromechanical (MEMS) techniques and can include the following construction techniques:
  • [0033]
    As shown initially in FIG. 6, the initial processing starting material is a standard semi-conductor wafer 20 having a complete CMOS level 21 to a first level of metal. The first level of metal includes portions 22 which are utilized for providing power to the thermal actuators 8, 9.
  • [0034]
    The first step, as illustrated in FIG. 7, is to etch a nozzle region down to the silicon wafer 20 utilizing an appropriate mask.
  • [0035]
    Next, as illustrated in FIG. 8, a 2 μm layer of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is deposited and etched so as to define vias 24 for interconnecting multiple levels.
  • [0036]
    Next, as illustrated in FIG. 9, the second level metal layer is deposited, masked and etched to define a heater structure 25. The heater structure 25 includes via 26 interconnected with a lower aluminium layer.
  • [0037]
    Next, as illustrated in FIG. 10, a further 2 μm layer of PTFE is deposited and etched to the depth of 1 μm utilizing a nozzle rim mask to define the nozzle rim 28 in addition to ink flow guide rails 29 which generally restrain any wicking along the surface of the PTFE layer. The guide rails 29 surround small thin slots and, as such, surface tension effects are a lot higher around these slots which in turn results in minimal outflow of ink during operation.
  • [0038]
    Next, as illustrated in FIG. 11, the PTFE is etched utilizing a nozzle and actuator mask to define a port portion 30 and slots 31 and 32.
  • [0039]
    Next, as illustrated in FIG. 12, the wafer is crystallographically etched on a <111> plane utilizing a standard crystallographic etchant such as KOH. The etching forms a chamber 33, directly below the port portion 30.
  • [0040]
    In FIG. 13, the ink supply channel 34 can be etched from the back of the wafer utilizing a highly anisotropic etcher such as the STS etcher from Silicon Technology Systems of United Kingdom. An array of ink jet nozzles can be formed simultaneously with a portion of an array 36 being illustrated in FIG. 14. A portion of the printhead is formed simultaneously and diced by the STS etching process. The array 36 shown provides for four column printing with each separate column attached to a different colour ink supply channel being supplied from the back of the wafer. Bond pads 37 provide for electrical control of the ejection mechanism.
  • [0041]
    In this manner, large pagewidth printheads can be fabricated so as to provide for a drop-on-demand ink ejection mechanism.
  • [0042]
    One form of detailed manufacturing process which can be used to fabricate monolithic ink jet printheads operating in accordance with the principles taught by the present embodiment can proceed utilizing the following steps:
  • [0043]
    1. Using a double-sided polished wafer 60, complete a 0.5 micron, one poly, 2 metal CMOS process 61. This step is shown in FIG. 16. For clarity, these diagrams may not be to scale, and may not represent a cross section though any single plane of the nozzle. FIG. 15 is a key to representations of various materials in these manufacturing diagrams, and those of other cross referenced ink jet configurations.
  • [0044]
    2. Etch the CMOS oxide layers down to silicon or second level metal using Mask 1. This mask defines the nozzle cavity and the edge of the chips. This step is shown in FIG. 16.
  • [0045]
    3. Deposit a thin layer (not shown) of a hydrophilic polymer, and treat the surface of this polymer for PTFE adherence.
  • [0046]
    4. Deposit 1.5 microns of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) 62.
  • [0047]
    5. Etch the PTFE and CMOS oxide layers to second level metal using Mask 2. This mask defines the contact vias for the heater electrodes. This step is shown in FIG. 17.
  • [0048]
    6. Deposit and pattern 0.5 microns of gold 63 using a lift-off process using Mask 3. This mask defines the heater pattern. This step is shown in FIG. 18.
  • [0049]
    7. Deposit 1.5 microns of PTFE 64.
  • [0050]
    8. Etch 1 micron of PTFE using Mask 4. This mask defines the nozzle rim 65 and the rim at the edge 66 of the nozzle chamber. This step is shown in FIG. 19.
  • [0051]
    9. Etch both layers of PTFE and the thin hydrophilic layer down to silicon using Mask 5. This mask defines a gap 67 at inner edges of the actuators, and the edge of the chips. It also forms the mask for a subsequent crystallographic etch. This step is shown in FIG. 20.
  • [0052]
    10. Crystallographically etch the exposed silicon using KOH. This etch stops on <111> crystallographic planes 68, forming an inverted square pyramid with sidewall angles of 54.74 degrees. This step is shown in FIG. 21.
  • [0053]
    11. Back-etch through the silicon wafer (with, for example, an ASE Advanced Silicon Etcher from Surface Technology Systems) using Mask 6. This mask defines the ink inlets 69 which are etched through the wafer. The wafer is also diced by this etch. This step is shown in FIG. 22.
  • [0054]
    12. Mount the printheads in their packaging, which may be a molded plastic former incorporating ink channels which supply the appropriate color ink to the ink inlets 69 at the back of the wafer.
  • [0055]
    13. Connect the printheads to their interconnect systems. For a low profile connection with minimum disruption of airflow, TAB may be used. Wire bonding may also be used if the printer is to be operated with sufficient clearance to the paper.
  • [0056]
    14. Fill the completed print heads with ink 70 and test them. A filled nozzle is shown in FIG. 23.
  • [0057]
    The presently disclosed ink jet printing technology is potentially suited to a wide range of printing systems including: color and monochrome office printers, short run digital printers, high speed digital printers, offset press supplemental printers, low cost scanning printers high speed pagewidth printers, notebook computers with inbuilt pagewidth printers, portable color and monochrome printers, color and monochrome copiers, color and monochrome facsimile machines, combined printer, facsimile and copying machines, label printers, large format plotters, photograph copiers, printers for digital photographic “minilabs”, video printers, PHOTO CD (PHOTO CD is a registered trade mark of the Eastman Kodak Company) printers, portable printers for PDAs, wallpaper printers, indoor sign printers, billboard printers, fabric printers, camera printers and fault tolerant commercial printer arrays.
  • [0058]
    It would be appreciated by a person skilled in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications may be made to the present invention as shown in the specific embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as broadly described. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects to be illustrative and not restrictive.
  • [0059]
    Ink Jet Technologies
  • [0060]
    The embodiments of the invention use an ink jet printer type device. Of course many different devices could be used. However presently popular ink jet printing technologies are unlikely to be suitable.
  • [0061]
    The most significant problem with thermal ink jet is power consumption. This is approximately 100 times that required for high speed, and stems from the energy-inefficient means of drop ejection. This involves the rapid boiling of water to produce a vapor bubble which expels the ink. Water has a very high heat capacity, and must be superheated in thermal ink jet applications. This leads to an efficiency of around 0.02%, from electricity input to drop momentum (and increased surface area) out.
  • [0062]
    The most significant problem with piezoelectric ink jet is size and cost. Piezoelectric crystals have a very small deflection at reasonable drive voltages, and therefore require a large area for each nozzle. Also, each piezoelectric actuator must be connected to its drive circuit on a separate substrate. This is not a significant problem at the current limit of around 300 nozzles per printhead, but is a major impediment to the fabrication of pagewidth printheads with 19,200 nozzles.
  • [0063]
    Ideally, the ink jet technologies used meet the stringent requirements of in-camera digital color printing and other high quality, high speed, low cost printing applications. To meet the requirements of digital photography, new ink jet technologies have been created. The target features include:
  • [0064]
    low power (less than 10 Watts)
  • [0065]
    high resolution capability (1,600 dpi or more)
  • [0066]
    photographic quality output
  • [0067]
    low manufacturing cost
  • [0068]
    small size (pagewidth times minimum cross section)
  • [0069]
    high speed (<2 seconds per page).
  • [0070]
    All of these features can be met or exceeded by the ink jet systems described below with differing levels of difficulty. Forty-five different ink jet technologies have been developed by the Assignee to give a wide range of choices for high volume manufacture. These technologies form part of separate applications assigned to the present Assignee as set out in the table below under the heading Cross References to Related Applications.
  • [0071]
    The ink jet designs shown here are suitable for a wide range of digital printing systems, from battery powered one-time use digital cameras, through to desktop and network printers, and through to commercial printing systems.
  • [0072]
    For ease of manufacture using standard process equipment, the printhead is designed to be a monolithic 0.5 micron CMOS chip with MEMS post processing. For color photographic applications, the printhead is 100 mm long, with a width which depends upon the ink jet type. The smallest printhead designed is IJ38, which is 0.35 mm wide, giving a chip area of 35 square mm. The printheads each contain 19,200 nozzles plus data and control circuitry.
  • [0073]
    Ink is supplied to the back of the printhead by injection molded plastic ink channels. The molding requires 50 micron features, which can be created using a lithographically micromachined insert in a standard injection molding tool. Ink flows through holes etched through the wafer to the nozzle chambers fabricated on the front surface of the wafer. The printhead is connected to the camera circuitry by tape automated bonding.
  • [0074]
    Tables of Drop-on-Demand Ink Jets
  • [0075]
    Eleven important characteristics of the fundamental operation of individual ink jet nozzles have been identified. These characteristics are largely orthogonal, and so can be elucidated as an eleven dimensional matrix. Most of the eleven axes of this matrix include entries developed by the present assignee.
  • [0076]
    The following tables form the axes of an eleven dimensional table of ink jet types.
  • [0077]
    Actuator mechanism (18 types)
  • [0078]
    Basic operation mode (7 types)
  • [0079]
    Auxiliary mechanism (8 types)
  • [0080]
    Actuator amplification or modification method (17 types)
  • [0081]
    Actuator motion (19 types)
  • [0082]
    Nozzle refill method (4 types)
  • [0083]
    Method of restricting back-flow through inlet (10 types)
  • [0084]
    Nozzle clearing method (9 types)
  • [0085]
    Nozzle plate construction (9 types)
  • [0086]
    Drop ejection direction (5 types)
  • [0087]
    Ink type (7 types)
  • [0088]
    The complete eleven dimensional table represented by these axes contains 36.9 billion possible configurations of ink jet nozzle. While not all of the possible combinations result in a viable ink jet technology, many million configurations are viable. It is clearly impractical to elucidate all of the possible configurations. Instead, certain ink jet types have been investigated in detail. These are designated IJ01 to IJ45 above which matches the docket numbers in the table under the heading Cross References to Related Applications.
  • [0089]
    Other ink jet configurations can readily be derived from these forty-five examples by substituting alternative configurations along one or more of the 11 axes. Most of the IJ01 to IJ45 examples can be made into ink jet printheads with characteristics superior to any currently available ink jet technology.
  • [0090]
    Where there are prior art examples known to the inventor, one or more of these examples are listed in the examples column of the tables below. The IJ01 to IJ45 series are also listed in the examples column. In some cases, print technology may be listed more than once in a table, where it shares characteristics with more than one entry.
  • [0091]
    Suitable applications for the ink jet technologies include: Home printers, Office network printers, Short run digital printers, Commercial print systems, Fabric printers, Pocket printers, Internet WWW printers, Video printers, Medical imaging, Wide format printers, Notebook PC printers, Fax machines, Industrial printing systems, Photocopiers, Photographic minilabs etc.
  • [0092]
    The information associated with the aforementioned 11 dimensional matrix are set out in the following tables.
  • [0000]
    ACTUATOR MECHANISM (APPLIED ONLY TO SELECTED INK DROPS)
    Description Advantages Disadvantages Examples
    Thermal An electrothermal Large force High power Canon
    bubble heater heats the generated Ink carrier Bubblejet 1979
    ink to above Simple limited to water Endo et al GB
    boiling point, construction Low patent 2,007,162
    transferring No moving efficiency Xerox heater-
    significant heat to parts High in-pit 1990
    the aqueous ink. A Fast operation temperatures Hawkins et al
    bubble nucleates Small chip required U.S. Pat. No. 4,899,181
    and quickly forms, area required for High Hewlett-
    expelling the ink. actuator mechanical Packard TIJ
    The efficiency of stress 1982 Vaught et
    the process is low, Unusual al U.S. Pat. No.
    with typically less materials 4,490,728
    than 0.05% of the required
    electrical energy Large drive
    being transformed transistors
    into kinetic energy Cavitation
    of the drop. causes actuator
    failure
    Kogation
    reduces bubble
    formation
    Large print
    heads are
    difficult to
    fabricate
    Piezo- A piezoelectric Low power Very large Kyser et al
    electric crystal such as consumption area required for U.S. Pat. No. 3,946,398
    lead lanthanum Many ink actuator Zoltan U.S. Pat. No.
    zirconate (PZT) is types can be Difficult to 3,683,212
    electrically used integrate with 1973 Stemme
    activated, and Fast operation electronics U.S. Pat. No. 3,747,120
    either expands, High High voltage Epson Stylus
    shears, or bends to efficiency drive transistors Tektronix
    apply pressure to required IJ04
    the ink, ejecting Full
    drops. pagewidth print
    heads
    impractical due
    to actuator size
    Requires
    electrical poling
    in high field
    strengths during
    manufacture
    Electro- An electric field is Low power Low Seiko Epson,
    strictive used to activate consumption maximum strain Usui et all JP
    electrostriction in Many ink (approx. 0.01%) 253401/96
    relaxor materials types can be Large area IJ04
    such as lead used required for
    lanthanum Low thermal actuator due to
    zirconate titanate expansion low strain
    (PLZT) or lead Electric field Response
    magnesium strength required speed is
    niobate (PMN). (approx. 3.5 V/μm) marginal (~ 10 μs)
    can be High voltage
    generated drive transistors
    without required
    difficulty Full
    Does not pagewidth print
    require electrical heads
    poling impractical due
    to actuator size
    Ferro- An electric field is Low power Difficult to IJ04
    electric used to induce a consumption integrate with
    phase transition Many ink electronics
    between the types can be Unusual
    antiferroelectric used materials such as
    (AFE) and Fast operation PLZSnT are
    ferroelectric (FE) (<1 μs) required
    phase. Perovskite Relatively Actuators
    materials such as high longitudinal require a large
    tin modified lead strain area
    lanthanum High
    zirconate titanate efficiency
    (PLZSnT) exhibit Electric field
    large strains of up strength of
    to 1% associated around 3 V/μm
    with the AFE to can be readily
    FE phase provided
    transition.
    Electro- Conductive plates Low power Difficult to IJ02, IJ04
    static are separated by a consumption operate
    plates compressible or Many ink electrostatic
    fluid dielectric types can be devices in an
    (usually air). Upon used aqueous
    application of a Fast operation environment
    voltage, the plates The
    attract each other electrostatic
    and displace ink, actuator will
    causing drop normally need to
    ejection. The be separated
    conductive plates from the ink
    may be in a comb Very large
    or honeycomb area required to
    structure, or achieve high
    stacked to increase forces
    the surface area High voltage
    and therefore the drive transistors
    force. may be required
    Full
    pagewidth print
    heads are not
    competitive due
    to actuator size
    Electro- A strong electric Low current High voltage 1989 Saito et
    static pull field is applied to consumption required al, U.S. Pat. No.
    on ink the ink, whereupon Low May be 4,799,068
    electrostatic temperature damaged by 1989 Miura et
    attraction sparks due to air al, U.S. Pat. No.
    accelerates the ink breakdown 4,810,954
    towards the print Required field Tone-jet
    medium. strength
    increases as the
    drop size
    decreases
    High voltage
    drive transistors
    required
    Electrostatic
    field attracts dust
    Permanent An electromagnet Low power Complex IJ07, IJ10
    magnet directly attracts a consumption fabrication
    electro- permanent magnet, Many ink Permanent
    magnetic displacing ink and types can be magnetic
    causing drop used material such as
    ejection. Rare Fast operation Neodymium Iron
    earth magnets with High Boron (NdFeB)
    a field strength efficiency required.
    around 1 Tesla can Easy High local
    be used. Examples extension from currents required
    are: Samarium single nozzles to Copper
    Cobalt (SaCo) and pagewidth print metalization
    magnetic materials heads should be used
    in the neodymium for long
    iron boron family electromigration
    (NdFeB, lifetime and low
    NdDyFeBNb, resistivity
    NdDyFeB, etc) Pigmented
    inks are usually
    infeasible
    Operating
    temperature
    limited to the
    Curie
    temperature
    (around 540 K)
    Soft A solenoid Low power Complex IJ01, IJ05,
    magnetic induced a consumption fabrication IJ08, IJ10, IJ12,
    core magnetic field in a Many ink Materials not IJ14, IJ15, IJ17
    electro- soft magnetic core types can be usually present
    magnetic or yoke fabricated used in a CMOS fab
    from a ferrous Fast operation such as NiFe,
    material such as High CoNiFe, or CoFe
    electroplated iron efficiency are required
    alloys such as Easy High local
    CoNiFe [1], CoFe, extension from currents required
    or NiFe alloys. single nozzles to Copper
    Typically, the soft pagewidth print metalization
    magnetic material heads should be used
    is in two parts, for long
    which are electromigration
    normally held lifetime and low
    apart by a spring. resistivity
    When the solenoid Electroplating
    is actuated, the two is required
    parts attract, High
    displacing the ink. saturation flux
    density is
    required (2.0-2.1
    T is achievable
    with CoNiFe
    [1])
    Lorenz The Lorenz force Low power Force acts as a IJ06, IJ11,
    force acting on a current consumption twisting motion IJ13, IJ16
    carrying wire in a Many ink Typically,
    magnetic field is types can be only a quarter of
    utilized. used the solenoid
    This allows the Fast operation length provides
    magnetic field to High force in a useful
    be supplied efficiency direction
    externally to the Easy High local
    print head, for extension from currents required
    example with rare single nozzles to Copper
    earth permanent pagewidth print metalization
    magnets. heads should be used
    Only the current for long
    carrying wire need electromigration
    be fabricated on lifetime and low
    the print-head, resistivity
    simplifying Pigmented
    materials inks are usually
    requirements. infeasible
    Magneto- The actuator uses Many ink Force acts as a Fischenbeck,
    striction the giant types can be twisting motion U.S. Pat. No. 4,032,929
    magnetostrictive used Unusual IJ25
    effect of materials Fast operation materials such as
    such as Terfenol-D Easy Terfenol-D are
    (an alloy of extension from required
    terbium, single nozzles to High local
    dysprosium and pagewidth print currents required
    iron developed at heads Copper
    the Naval High force is metalization
    Ordnance available should be used
    Laboratory, hence for long
    Ter-Fe-NOL). For electromigration
    best efficiency, the lifetime and low
    actuator should be resistivity
    pre-stressed to Pre-stressing
    approx. 8 MPa. may be required
    Surface Ink under positive Low power Requires Silverbrook,
    tension pressure is held in consumption supplementary EP 0771 658 A2
    reduction a nozzle by surface Simple force to effect and related
    tension. The construction drop separation patent
    surface tension of No unusual Requires applications
    the ink is reduced materials special ink
    below the bubble required in surfactants
    threshold, causing fabrication Speed may be
    the ink to egress High limited by
    from the nozzle. efficiency surfactant
    Easy properties
    extension from
    single nozzles to
    pagewidth print
    heads
    Viscosity The ink viscosity Simple Requires Silverbrook,
    reduction is locally reduced construction supplementary EP 0771 658 A2
    to select which No unusual force to effect and related
    drops are to be materials drop separation patent
    ejected. A required in Requires applications
    viscosity reduction fabrication special ink
    can be achieved Easy viscosity
    electrothermally extension from properties
    with most inks, but single nozzles to High speed is
    special inks can be pagewidth print difficult to
    engineered for a heads achieve
    100:1 viscosity Requires
    reduction. oscillating ink
    pressure
    A high
    temperature
    difference
    (typically 80
    degrees) is
    required
    Acoustic An acoustic wave Can operate Complex 1993
    is generated and without a nozzle drive circuitry Hadimioglu et
    focussed upon the plate Complex al, EUP 550,192
    drop ejection fabrication 1993 Elrod et
    region. Low al, EUP 572,220
    efficiency
    Poor control
    of drop position
    Poor control
    of drop volume
    Thermo- An actuator which Low power Efficient IJ03, IJ09,
    elastic relies upon consumption aqueous IJ17, IJ18, IJ19,
    bend differential Many ink operation IJ20, IJ21, IJ22,
    actuator thermal expansion types can be requires a IJ23, IJ24, IJ27,
    upon Joule heating used thermal insulator IJ28, IJ29, IJ30,
    is used. Simple planar on the hot side IJ31, IJ32, IJ33,
    fabrication Corrosion IJ34, IJ35, IJ36,
    Small chip prevention can IJ37, IJ38, IJ39,
    area required for be difficult IJ40, IJ41
    each actuator Pigmented
    Fast operation inks may be
    High infeasible, as
    efficiency pigment particles
    CMOS may jam the
    compatible bend actuator
    voltages and
    currents
    Standard
    MEMS
    processes can be
    used
    Easy
    extension from
    single nozzles to
    pagewidth print
    heads
    High CTE A material with a High force Requires IJ09, IJ17,
    thermo- very high can be generated special material IJ18, IJ20, IJ21,
    elastic coefficient of Three (e.g. PTFE) IJ22, IJ23, IJ24,
    actuator thermal expansion methods of Requires a IJ27, IJ28, IJ29,
    (CTE) such as PTFE deposition PTFE deposition IJ30, IJ31, IJ42,
    polytetrafluoroethylene are under process, which is IJ43, IJ44
    (PTFE) is development: not yet standard
    used. As high CTE chemical vapor in ULSI fabs
    materials are deposition PTFE
    usually non- (CVD), spin deposition
    conductive, a coating, and cannot be
    heater fabricated evaporation followed with
    from a conductive PTFE is a high temperature
    material is candidate for (above 350° C.)
    incorporated. A 50 μm low dielectric processing
    long PTFE constant Pigmented
    bend actuator with insulation in inks may be
    polysilicon heater ULSI infeasible, as
    and 15 mW power Very low pigment particles
    input can provide power may jam the
    180 μN force and consumption bend actuator
    10 μm deflection. Many ink
    Actuator motions types can be
    include: used
    Bend Simple planar
    Push fabrication
    Buckle Small chip
    Rotate area required for
    each actuator
    Fast operation
    High
    efficiency
    CMOS
    compatible
    voltages and
    Conductive A polymer with a High force Requires IJ24
    polymer high coefficient of can be generated special materials
    thermo- thermal expansion Very low development
    elastic (such as PTFE) is power (High CTE
    actuator doped with consumption conductive
    conducting Many ink polymer)
    substances to types can be Requires a
    increase its used PTFE deposition
    conductivity to Simple planar process, which is
    about 3 orders of fabrication not yet standard
    magnitude below Small chip in ULSI fabs
    that of copper. The area required for PTFE
    conducting each actuator deposition
    polymer expands Fast operation cannot be
    when resistively High followed with
    heated. efficiency high temperature
    Examples of CMOS (above 350° C.)
    conducting compatible processing
    dopants include: voltages and Evaporation
    Carbon nanotubes currents and CVD
    Metal fibers Easy deposition
    Conductive extension from techniques
    polymers such as single nozzles to cannot be used
    doped pagewidth print Pigmented
    polythiophene heads inks may be
    Carbon granules infeasible, as
    pigment particles
    may jam the
    bend actuator
    Shape A shape memory High force is Fatigue limits IJ26
    memory alloy such as TiNi available maximum
    alloy (also known as (stresses of number of cycles
    Nitinol - Nickel hundreds of Low strain
    Titanium alloy MPa) (1%) is required
    developed at the Large strain is to extend fatigue
    Naval Ordnance available (more resistance
    Laboratory) is than 3%) Cycle rate
    thermally switched High limited by heat
    between its weak corrosion removal
    martensitic state resistance Requires
    and its high Simple unusual
    stiffness austenic construction materials (TiNi)
    state. The shape of Easy The latent
    the actuator in its extension from heat of
    martensitic state is single nozzles to transformation
    deformed relative pagewidth print must be
    to the austenic heads provided
    shape. The shape Low voltage High current
    change causes operation operation
    ejection of a drop. Requires prestressing
    to
    distort the
    martensitic state
    Linear Linear magnetic Linear Requires IJ12
    Magnetic actuators include Magnetic unusual
    Actuator the Linear actuators can be semiconductor
    Induction Actuator constructed with materials such as
    (LIA), Linear high thrust, long soft magnetic
    Permanent Magnet travel, and high alloys (e.g.
    Synchronous efficiency using CoNiFe)
    Actuator planar Some varieties
    (LPMSA), Linear semiconductor also require
    Reluctance fabrication permanent
    Synchronous techniques magnetic
    Actuator (LRSA), Long actuator materials such as
    Linear Switched travel is Neodymium iron
    Reluctance available boron (NdFeB)
    Actuator (LSRA), Medium force Requires
    and the Linear is available complex multi-
    Stepper Actuator Low voltage phase drive
    (LSA). operation circuitry
    High current
    operation
  • [0000]
    BASIC OPERATION MODE
    Description Advantages Disadvantages Examples
    Actuator This is the Simple Drop Thermal ink
    directly simplest mode of operation repetition rate is jet
    pushes operation: the No external usually limited Piezoelectric
    ink actuator directly fields required to around 10 kHz. ink jet
    supplies sufficient Satellite drops However, IJ01, IJ02,
    kinetic energy to can be avoided if this is not IJ03, IJ04, IJ05,
    expel the drop. drop velocity is fundamental to IJ06, IJ07, IJ09,
    The drop must less than 4 m/s the method, but IJ11, IJ12, IJ14,
    have a sufficient Can be is related to the IJ16, IJ20, IJ22,
    velocity to efficient, refill method IJ23, IJ24, IJ25,
    overcome the depending upon normally used IJ26, IJ27, IJ28,
    surface tension. the actuator used All of the drop IJ29, IJ30, IJ31,
    kinetic energy IJ32, IJ33, IJ34,
    must be IJ35, IJ36, IJ37,
    provided by the IJ38, IJ39, IJ40,
    actuator IJ41, IJ42, IJ43,
    Satellite drops IJ44
    usually form if
    drop velocity is
    greater than 4.5 m/s
    Proximity The drops to be Very simple Requires close Silverbrook,
    printed are print head proximity EP 0771 658 A2
    selected by some fabrication can between the and related
    manner (e.g. be used print head and patent
    thermally induced The drop the print media applications
    surface tension selection means or transfer roller
    reduction of does not need to May require
    pressurized ink). provide the two print heads
    Selected drops are energy required printing alternate
    separated from the to separate the rows of the
    ink in the nozzle drop from the image
    by contact with the nozzle Monolithic
    print medium or a color print heads
    transfer roller. are difficult
    Electro- The drops to be Very simple Requires very Silverbrook,
    static pull printed are print head high electrostatic EP 0771 658 A2
    on ink selected by some fabrication can field and related
    manner (e.g. be used Electrostatic patent
    thermally induced The drop field for small applications
    surface tension selection means nozzle sizes is Tone-Jet
    reduction of does not need to above air
    pressurized ink). provide the breakdown
    Selected drops are energy required Electrostatic
    separated from the to separate the field may attract
    ink in the nozzle drop from the dust
    by a strong electric nozzle
    field.
    Magnetic The drops to be Very simple Requires Silverbrook,
    pull on printed are print head magnetic ink EP 0771 658 A2
    ink selected by some fabrication can Ink colors and related
    manner (e.g. be used other than black patent
    thermally induced The drop are difficult applications
    surface tension selection means Requires very
    reduction of does not need to high magnetic
    pressurized ink). provide the fields
    Selected drops are energy required
    separated from the to separate the
    ink in the nozzle drop from the
    by a strong nozzle
    magnetic field
    acting on the
    magnetic ink.
    Shutter The actuator High speed Moving parts IJ13, IJ17,
    moves a shutter to (>50 kHz) are required IJ21
    block ink flow to operation can be Requires ink
    the nozzle. The ink achieved due to pressure
    pressure is pulsed reduced refill modulator
    at a multiple of the time Friction and
    drop ejection Drop timing wear must be
    frequency. can be very considered
    accurate Stiction is
    The actuator possible
    energy can be
    verylow
    Shuttered The actuator Actuators with Moving parts IJ08, IJ15,
    grill moves a shutter to small travel can are required IJ18, IJ19
    block ink flow be used Requires ink
    through a grill to Actuators with pressure
    the nozzle. The small force can modulator
    shutter movement be used Friction and
    need only be equal High speed wear must be
    to the width of the (>50 kHz) considered
    grill holes. operation can be Stiction is
    achieved possible
    Pulsed A pulsed magnetic Extremely low Requires an IJ10
    magnetic field attracts an energy operation external pulsed
    pull on ‘ink pusher’ at the is possible magnetic field
    ink drop ejection No heat Requires
    pusher frequency. An dissipation special materials
    actuator controls a problems for both the
    catch, which actuator and the
    prevents the ink ink pusher
    pusher from Complex
    moving when a construction
    drop is not to be
    ejected.
    AUXILIARY MECHANISM (APPLIED TO ALL NOZZLES)
    None The actuator Simplicity of Drop ejection Most ink jets,
    directly fires the construction energy must be including
    ink drop, and there Simplicity of supplied by piezoelectric and
    is no external field operation individual nozzle thermal bubble.
    or other Small physical actuator IJ01, IJ02,
    mechanism size IJ03, IJ04, IJ05,
    required. IJ07, IJ09, IJ11,
    IJ12, IJ14, IJ20,
    IJ22, IJ23, IJ24,
    IJ25, IJ26, IJ27,
    IJ28, IJ29, IJ30,
    IJ31, IJ32, IJ33,
    IJ34, IJ35, IJ36,
    IJ37, IJ38, IJ39,
    IJ40, IJ41, IJ42,
    IJ43, IJ44
    Oscillating The ink pressure Oscillating ink Requires Silverbrook,
    ink oscillates, pressure can external ink EP 0771 658 A2
    pressure providing much of provide a refill pressure and related
    (including the drop ejection pulse, allowing oscillator patent
    acoustic energy. The higher operating Ink pressure applications
    stimulation) actuator selects speed phase and IJ08, IJ13,
    which drops are to The actuators amplitude must IJ15, IJ17, IJ18,
    be fired by may operate be carefully IJ19, IJ21
    selectively with much lower controlled
    blocking or energy Acoustic
    enabling nozzles. Acoustic reflections in the
    The ink pressure lenses can be ink chamber
    oscillation may be used to focus the must be
    achieved by sound on the designed for
    vibrating the print nozzles
    head, or preferably
    by an actuator in
    the ink supply.
    Media The print head is Low power Precision Silverbrook,
    proximity placed in close High accuracy assembly EP 0771 658 A2
    proximity to the Simple print required and related
    print medium. head Paper fibers patent
    Selected drops construction may cause applications
    protrude from the problems
    print head further Cannot print
    than unselected on rough
    drops, and contact substrates
    the print medium.
    The drop soaks
    into the medium
    fast enough to
    cause drop
    separation.
    Transfer Drops are printed High accuracy Bulky Silverbrook,
    roller to a transfer roller Wide range of Expensive EP 0771 658 A2
    instead of straight print substrates Complex and related
    to the print can be used construction patent
    medium. A Ink can be applications
    transfer roller can dried on the Tektronix hot
    also be used for transfer roller melt
    proximity drop piezoelectric ink
    separation. jet
    Any of the IJ
    series
    Electro- An electric field is Low power Field strength Silverbrook,
    static used to accelerate Simple print required for EP 0771 658 A2
    selected drops head separation of and related
    towards the print construction small drops is patent
    medium. near or above air applications
    breakdown Tone-Jet
    Direct A magnetic field is Low power Requires Silverbrook,
    magnetic used to accelerate Simple print magnetic ink EP 0771 658 A2
    field selected drops of head Requires and related
    magnetic ink construction strong magnetic patent
    towards the print field applications
    medium.
    Cross The print head is Does not Requires IJ06, IJ16
    magnetic placed in a require magnetic external magnet
    field constant magnetic materials to be Current
    field. The Lorenz integrated in the densities may be
    force in a current print head high, resulting in
    carrying wire is manufacturing electromigration
    used to move the process problems
    actuator.
    Pulsed A pulsed magnetic Very low Complex print IJ10
    magnetic field is used to power operation head
    field cyclically attract a is possible construction
    paddle, which Small print Magnetic
    pushes on the ink. head size materials
    A small actuator required in print
    moves a catch, head
    which selectively
    prevents the
    paddle from
    moving.
  • [0000]
    ACTUATOR AMPLIFICATION OR MODIFICATION METHOD
    Description Advantages Disadvantages Examples
    None No actuator Operational Many actuator Thermal
    mechanical simplicity mechanisms Bubble Ink jet
    amplification is have insufficient IJ01, IJ02,
    used. The actuator travel, or IJ06, IJ07, IJ16,
    directly drives the insufficient IJ25, IJ26
    drop ejection force, to
    process. efficiently drive
    the drop ejection
    process
    Differential An actuator Provides High stresses Piezoelectric
    expansion material expands greater travel in are involved IJ03, IJ09,
    bend more on one side a reduced print Care must be IJ17, IJ18, IJ19,
    actuator than on the other. head area taken that the IJ20, IJ21, IJ22,
    The expansion materials do not IJ23, IJ24, IJ27,
    may be thermal, delaminate IJ29, IJ30, IJ31,
    piezoelectric, Residual bend IJ32, IJ33, IJ34,
    magnetostrictive, resulting from IJ35, IJ36, IJ37,
    or other high temperature IJ38, IJ39, IJ42,
    mechanism. The or high stress IJ43, IJ44
    bend actuator during formation
    converts a high
    force low travel
    actuator
    mechanism to high
    travel, lower force
    mechanism.
    Transient A trilayer bend Very good High stresses IJ40, IJ41
    bend actuator where the temperature are involved
    actuator two outside layers stability Care must be
    are identical. This High speed, as taken that the
    cancels bend due a new drop can materials do not
    to ambient be fired before delaminate
    temperature and heat dissipates
    residual stress. The Cancels
    actuator only residual stress of
    responds to formation
    transient heating of
    one side or the
    other.
    Reverse The actuator loads Better Fabrication IJ05, IJ11
    spring a spring. When the coupling to the complexity
    actuator is turned ink High stress in
    off, the spring the spring
    releases. This can
    reverse the
    force/distance
    curve of the
    actuator to make it
    compatible with
    the force/time
    requirements of
    the drop ejection.
    Actuator A series of thin Increased Increased Some
    stack actuators are travel fabrication piezoelectric ink
    stacked. This can Reduced drive complexity jets
    be appropriate voltage Increased IJ04
    where actuators possibility of
    require high short circuits due
    electric field to pinholes
    strength, such as
    electrostatic and
    piezoelectric
    actuators.
    Multiple Multiple smaller Increases the Actuator IJ12, IJ13,
    actuators actuators are used force available forces may not IJ18, IJ20, IJ22,
    simultaneously to from an actuator add linearly, IJ28, IJ42, IJ43
    move the ink. Each Multiple reducing
    actuator need actuators can be efficiency
    provide only a positioned to
    portion of the control ink flow
    force required. accurately
    Linear A linear spring is Matches low Requires print IJ15
    Spring used to transform a travel actuator head area for the
    motion with small with higher spring
    travel and high travel
    force into a longer requirements
    travel, lower force Non-contact
    motion. method of
    motion
    transformation
    Coiled A bend actuator is Increases Generally IJ17, IJ21,
    actuator coiled to provide travel restricted to IJ34, IJ35
    greater travel in a Reduces chip planar
    reduced chip area. area implementations
    Planar due to extreme
    implementations fabrication
    are relatively difficulty in
    easy to fabricate. other
    orientations.
    Flexure A bend actuator Simple means Care must be IJ10, IJ19,
    bend has a small region of increasing taken not to IJ33
    actuator near the fixture travel of a bend exceed the
    point, which flexes actuator elastic limit in
    much more readily the flexure area
    than the remainder Stress
    of the actuator. distribution is
    The actuator very uneven
    flexing is Difficult to
    effectively accurately model
    converted from an with finite
    even coiling to an element analysis
    angular bend,
    resulting in greater
    travel of the
    actuator tip.
    Catch The actuator Very low Complex IJ10
    controls a small actuator energy construction
    catch. The catch Very small Requires
    either enables or actuator size external force
    disables movement Unsuitable for
    of an ink pusher pigmented inks
    that is controlled
    in a bulk manner.
    Gears Gears can be used Low force, Moving parts IJ13
    to increase travel low travel are required
    at the expense of actuators can be Several
    duration. Circular used actuator cycles
    gears, rack and Can be are required
    pinion, ratchets, fabricated using More complex
    and other gearing standard surface drive electronics
    methods can be MEMS Complex
    used. processes construction
    Friction,
    friction, and
    wear are
    possible
    Buckle A buckle plate can Very fast Must stay S. Hirata et al,
    plate be used to change movement within elastic “An Ink-jet
    a slow actuator achievable limits of the Head Using
    into a fast motion. materials for Diaphragm
    It can also convert long device life Microactuator”,
    a high force, low High stresses Proc. IEEE
    travel actuator into involved MEMS, February
    a high travel, Generally 1996, pp 418-423.
    medium force high power IJ18, IJ27
    motion. requirement
    Tapered A tapered Linearizes the Complex IJ14
    magnetic magnetic pole can magnetic construction
    pole increase travel at force/distance
    the expense of curve
    force.
    Lever A lever and Matches low High stress IJ32, IJ36,
    fulcrum is used to travel actuator around the IJ37
    transform a motion with higher fulcrum
    with small travel travel
    and high force into requirements
    a motion with Fulcrum area
    longer travel and has no linear
    lower force. The movement, and
    lever can also can be used for a
    reverse the fluid seal
    direction of travel.
    Rotary The actuator is High Complex IJ28
    impeller connected to a mechanical construction
    rotary impeller. A advantage Unsuitable for
    small angular The ratio of pigmented inks
    deflection of the force to travel of
    actuator results in the actuator can
    a rotation of the be matched to
    impeller vanes, the nozzle
    which push the ink requirements by
    against stationary varying the
    vanes and out of number of
    the nozzle. impeller vanes
    Acoustic A refractive or No moving Large area 1993
    lens diffractive (e.g. parts required Hadimioglu et
    zone plate) Only relevant al, EUP 550,192
    acoustic lens is for acoustic ink 1993 Elrod et
    used to concentrate jets al, EUP 572,220
    sound waves.
    Sharp A sharp point is Simple Difficult to Tone-jet
    conductive used to concentrate construction fabricate using
    point an electrostatic standard VLSI
    field. processes for a
    surface ejecting
    ink-jet
    Only relevant
    for electrostatic
    ink jets
  • [0000]
    ACTUATOR MOTION
    Description Advantages Disadvantages Examples
    Volume The volume of the Simple High energy is Hewlett-
    expansion actuator changes, construction in typically Packard Thermal
    pushing the ink in the case of required to Ink jet
    all directions. thermal ink jet achieve volume Canon
    expansion. This Bubblejet
    leads to thermal
    stress, cavitation,
    and kogation in
    thermal ink jet
    implementations
    Linear, The actuator Efficient High IJ01, IJ02,
    normal to moves in a coupling to ink fabrication IJ04, IJ07, IJ11,
    chip direction normal to drops ejected complexity may IJ14
    surface the print head normal to the be required to
    surface. The surface achieve
    nozzle is typically perpendicular
    in the line of motion
    movement.
    Parallel to The actuator Suitable for Fabrication IJ12, IJ13,
    chip moves parallel to planar complexity IJ15, IJ33,, IJ34,
    surface the print head fabrication Friction IJ35, IJ36
    surface. Drop Stiction
    ejection may still
    be normal to the
    surface.
    Membrane An actuator with a The effective Fabrication 1982 Howkins
    push high force but area of the complexity U.S. Pat. No. 4,459,601
    small area is used actuator Actuator size
    to push a stiff becomes the Difficulty of
    membrane that is membrane area integration in a
    in contact with the VLSI process
    ink.
    Rotary The actuator Rotary levers Device IJ05, IJ08,
    causes the rotation may be used to complexity IJ13, IJ28
    of some element, increase travel May have
    such a grill or Small chip friction at a pivot
    impeller area point
    requirements
    Bend The actuator bends A very small Requires the 1970 Kyser et
    when energized. change in actuator to be al U.S. Pat. No.
    This may be due to dimensions can made from at 3,946,398
    differential be converted to a least two distinct 1973 Stemme
    thermal expansion, large motion. layers, or to have U.S. Pat. No. 3,747,120
    piezoelectric a thermal IJ03, IJ09,
    expansion, difference across IJ10, IJ19, IJ23,
    magnetostriction, the actuator IJ24, IJ25, IJ29,
    or other form of IJ30, IJ31, IJ33,
    relative IJ34, IJ35
    dimensional
    change.
    Swivel The actuator Allows Inefficient IJ06
    swivels around a operation where coupling to the
    central pivot. This the net linear ink motion
    motion is suitable force on the
    where there are paddle is zero
    opposite forces Small chip
    applied to opposite area
    sides of the paddle, requirements
    e.g. Lorenz force.
    Straighten The actuator is Can be used Requires IJ26, IJ32
    normally bent, and with shape careful balance
    straightens when memory alloys of stresses to
    energized. where the ensure that the
    austenic phase is quiescent bend is
    planar accurate
    Double The actuator bends One actuator Difficult to IJ36, IJ37,
    bend in one direction can be used to make the drops IJ38
    when one element power two ejected by both
    is energized, and nozzles. bend directions
    bends the other Reduced chip identical.
    way when another size. A small
    element is Not sensitive efficiency loss
    energized. to ambient compared to
    temperature equivalent single
    bend actuators.
    Shear Energizing the Can increase Not readily 1985 Fishbeck
    actuator causes a the effective applicable to U.S. Pat. No. 4,584,590
    shear motion in the travel of other actuator
    actuator material. piezoelectric mechanisms
    actuators
    Radial The actuator Relatively High force 1970 Zoltan
    constriction squeezes an ink easy to fabricate required U.S. Pat. No. 3,683,212
    reservoir, forcing single nozzles Inefficient
    ink from a from glass Difficult to
    constricted nozzle. tubing as integrate with
    macroscopic VLSI processes
    structures
    Coil/ A coiled actuator Easy to Difficult to IJ17, IJ21,
    uncoil uncoils or coils fabricate as a fabricate for IJ34, IJ35
    more tightly. The planar VLSI non-planar
    motion of the free process devices
    end of the actuator Small area Poor out-of-
    ejects the ink. required, plane stiffness
    therefore low
    cost
    Bow The actuator bows Can increase Maximum IJ16, IJ18,
    (or buckles) in the the speed of travel is IJ27
    middle when travel constrained
    energized. Mechanically High force
    rigid required
    Push-Pull Two actuators The structure Not readily IJ18
    control a shutter. is pinned at both suitable for ink
    One actuator pulls ends, so has a jets which
    the shutter, and the high out-of- directly push the
    other pushes it. plane rigidity ink
    Curl A set of actuators Good fluid Design IJ20, IJ42
    inwards curl inwards to flow to the complexity
    reduce the volume region behind
    of ink that they the actuator
    enclose. increases
    efficiency
    Curl A set of actuators Relatively Relatively IJ43
    outwards curl outwards, simple large chip area
    pressurizing ink in construction
    a chamber
    surrounding the
    actuators, and
    expelling ink from
    a nozzle in the
    chamber.
    Iris Multiple vanes High High IJ22
    enclose a volume efficiency fabrication
    of ink. These Small chip complexity
    simultaneously area Not suitable
    rotate, reducing for pigmented
    the volume inks
    between the vanes.
    Acoustic The actuator The actuator Large area 1993
    vibration vibrates at a high can be required for Hadimioglu et
    frequency. physically efficient al, EUP 550,192
    distant from the operation at 1993 Elrod et
    ink useful al, EUP 572,220
    frequencies
    Acoustic
    coupling and
    crosstalk
    Complex
    drive circuitry
    Poor control
    of drop volume
    and position
    None In various ink jet No moving Various other Silverbrook,
    designs the parts tradeoffs are EP 0771 658 A2
    actuator does not required to and related
    move. eliminate patent
    moving parts applications
    Tone-jet
  • [0000]
    NOZZLE REFILL METHOD
    Description Advantages Disadvantages Examples
    Surface This is the normal Fabrication Low speed Thermal ink
    tension way that ink jets simplicity Surface jet
    are refilled. After Operational tension force Piezoelectric
    the actuator is simplicity relatively small ink jet
    energized, it compared to IJ01-IJ07,
    typically returns actuator force IJ10-IJ14, IJ16,
    rapidly to its Long refill IJ20, IJ22-IJ45
    normal position. time usually
    This rapid return dominates the
    sucks in air total repetition
    through the nozzle rate
    opening. The ink
    surface tension at
    the nozzle then
    exerts a small
    force restoring the
    meniscus to a
    minimum area.
    This force refills
    the nozzle.
    Shuttered Ink to the nozzle High speed Requires IJ08, IJ13,
    oscillating chamber is Low actuator common ink IJ15, IJ17, IJ18,
    ink provided at a energy, as the pressure IJ19, IJ21
    pressure pressure that actuator need oscillator
    oscillates at twice only open or May not be
    the drop ejection close the shutter, suitable for
    frequency. When a instead of pigmented inks
    drop is to be ejecting the ink
    ejected, the shutter drop
    is opened for 3
    half cycles: drop
    ejection, actuator
    return, and refill.
    The shutter is then
    closed to prevent
    the nozzle
    chamber emptying
    during the next
    negative pressure
    cycle.
    Refill After the main High speed, as Requires two IJ09
    actuator actuator has the nozzle is independent
    ejected a drop a actively refilled actuators per
    second (refill) nozzle
    actuator is
    energized. The
    refill actuator
    pushes ink into the
    nozzle chamber.
    The refill actuator
    returns slowly, to
    prevent its return
    from emptying the
    chamber again.
    Positive The ink is held a High refill Surface spill Silverbrook,
    ink slight positive rate, therefore a must be EP 0771 658 A2
    pressure pressure. After the high drop prevented and related
    ink drop is ejected, repetition rate is Highly patent
    the nozzle possible hydrophobic applications
    chamber fills print head Alternative
    quickly as surface surfaces are for:, IJ01-IJ07,
    tension and ink required IJ10-IJ14, IJ16,
    pressure both IJ20, IJ22-IJ45
    operate to refill the
    nozzle.
  • [0000]
    Description Advantages Disadvantages Examples
    METHOD OF RESTRICTING BACK-FLOW THROUGH INLET
    Long inlet The ink inlet Design Restricts refill Thermal ink
    channel channel to the simplicity rate jet
    nozzle chamber is Operational May result in Piezoelectric
    made long and simplicity a relatively large ink jet
    relatively narrow, Reduces chip area IJ42, IJ43
    relying on viscous crosstalk Only partially
    drag to reduce effective
    inlet back-flow.
    Positive The ink is under a Drop selection Requires a Silverbrook,
    ink positive pressure, and separation method (such as EP 0771 658 A2
    pressure so that in the forces can be a nozzle rim or and related
    quiescent state reduced effective patent
    some of the ink Fast refill time hydrophobizing, applications
    drop already or both) to Possible
    protrudes from the prevent flooding operation of the
    nozzle. of the ejection following: IJ01-IJ07,
    This reduces the surface of the IJ09-IJ12,
    pressure in the print head. IJ14, IJ16, IJ20,
    nozzle chamber IJ22,, IJ23-IJ34,
    which is required IJ36-IJ41, IJ44
    to eject a certain
    volume of ink. The
    reduction in
    chamber pressure
    results in a
    reduction in ink
    pushed out through
    the inlet.
    Baffle One or more The refill rate Design HP Thermal
    baffles are placed is not as complexity Ink Jet
    in the inlet ink restricted as the May increase Tektronix
    flow. When the long inlet fabrication piezoelectric ink
    actuator is method. complexity (e.g. jet
    energized, the Reduces Tektronix hot
    rapid ink crosstalk melt
    movement creates Piezoelectric
    eddies which print heads).
    restrict the flow
    through the inlet.
    The slower refill
    process is
    unrestricted, and
    does not result in
    eddies.
    Flexible In this method Significantly Not applicable Canon
    flap recently disclosed reduces back- to most ink jet
    restricts by Canon, the flow for edge- configurations
    inlet expanding actuator shooter thermal Increased
    (bubble) pushes on ink jet devices fabrication
    a flexible flap that complexity
    restricts the inlet. Inelastic
    deformation of
    polymer flap
    results in creep
    over extended
    use
    Inlet filter A filter is located Additional Restricts refill IJ04, IJ12,
    between the ink advantage of ink rate IJ24, IJ27, IJ29,
    inlet and the filtration May result in IJ30
    nozzle chamber. Ink filter may complex
    The filter has a be fabricated construction
    multitude of small with no
    holes or slots, additional
    restricting ink process steps
    flow. The filter
    also removes
    particles which
    may block the
    nozzle.
    Small The ink inlet Design Restricts refill IJ02, IJ37,
    inlet channel to the simplicity rate IJ44
    compared nozzle chamber May result in
    to nozzle has a substantially a relatively large
    smaller cross chip area
    section than that of Only partially
    the nozzle, effective
    resulting in easier
    ink egress out of
    the nozzle than out
    of the inlet.
    Inlet A secondary Increases Requires IJ09
    shutter actuator controls speed of the ink- separate refill
    the position of a jet print head actuator and
    shutter, closing off operation drive circuit
    the ink inlet when
    the main actuator
    is energized.
    The inlet The method avoids Back-flow Requires IJ01, IJ03,
    is located the problem of problem is careful design to IJ05, IJ06, IJ07,
    behind inlet back-flow by eliminated minimize the IJ10, IJ11, IJ14,
    the ink- arranging the ink- negative IJ16, IJ22, IJ23,
    pushing pushing surface of pressure behind IJ25, IJ28, IJ31,
    surface the actuator the paddle IJ32, IJ33, IJ34,
    between the inlet IJ35, IJ36, IJ39,
    and the nozzle. IJ40, IJ41
    Part of The actuator and a Significant Small increase IJ07, IJ20,
    the wall of the ink reductions in in fabrication IJ26, IJ38
    actuator chamber are back-flow can be complexity
    moves to arranged so that achieved
    shut off the motion of the Compact
    the inlet actuator closes off designs possible
    the inlet.
    Nozzle In some Ink back-flow None related Silverbrook,
    actuator configurations of problem is to ink back-flow EP 0771 658 A2
    does not ink jet, there is no eliminated on actuation and related
    result in expansion or patent
    ink back- movement of an applications
    flow actuator which Valve-jet
    may cause ink Tone-jet
    back-flow through
    the inlet.
    NOZZLE CLEARING METHOD
    Normal All of the nozzles No added May not be Most ink jet
    nozzle are fired complexity on sufficient to systems
    firing periodically, the print head displace dried IJ01, IJ02,
    before the ink has ink IJ03, IJ04, IJ05,
    a chance to dry. IJ06, IJ07, IJ09,
    When not in use IJ10, IJ11, IJ12,
    the nozzles are IJ14, IJ16, IJ20,
    sealed (capped) IJ22, IJ23, IJ24,
    against air. IJ25, IJ26, IJ27,
    The nozzle firing IJ28, IJ29, IJ30,
    is usually IJ31, IJ32, IJ33,
    performed during a IJ34, IJ36, IJ37,
    special clearing IJ38, IJ39, IJ40,,
    cycle, after first IJ41, IJ42, IJ43,
    moving the print IJ44,, IJ45
    head to a cleaning
    station.
    Extra In systems which Can be highly Requires Silverbrook,
    power to heat the ink, but do effective if the higher drive EP 0771 658 A2
    ink heater not boil it under heater is voltage for and related
    normal situations, adjacent to the clearing patent
    nozzle clearing can nozzle May require applications
    be achieved by larger drive
    over-powering the transistors
    heater and boiling
    ink at the nozzle.
    Rapid The actuator is Does not Effectiveness May be used
    succession fired in rapid require extra depends with: IJ01, IJ02,
    of succession. In drive circuits on substantially IJ03, IJ04, IJ05,
    actuator some the print head upon the IJ06, IJ07, IJ09,
    pulses configurations, this Can be readily configuration of IJ10, IJ11, IJ14,
    may cause heat controlled and the ink jet nozzle IJ16, IJ20, IJ22,
    build-up at the initiated by IJ23, IJ24, IJ25,
    nozzle which boils digital logic IJ27, IJ28, IJ29,
    the ink, clearing IJ30, IJ31, IJ32,
    the nozzle. In other IJ33, IJ34, IJ36,
    situations, it may IJ37, IJ38, IJ39,
    cause sufficient IJ40, IJ41, IJ42,
    vibrations to IJ43, IJ44, IJ45
    dislodge clogged
    nozzles.
    Extra Where an actuator A simple Not suitable May be used
    power to is not normally solution where where there is a with: IJ03, IJ09,
    ink driven to the limit applicable hard limit to IJ16, IJ20, IJ23,
    pushing of its motion, actuator IJ24, IJ25, IJ27,
    actuator nozzle clearing movement IJ29, IJ30, IJ31,
    may be assisted by IJ32, IJ39, IJ40,
    providing an IJ41, IJ42, IJ43,
    enhanced drive IJ44, IJ45
    signal to the
    actuator.
    Acoustic An ultrasonic A high nozzle High IJ08, IJ13,
    resonance wave is applied to clearing implementation IJ15, IJ17, IJ18,
    the ink chamber. capability can be cost if system IJ19, IJ21
    This wave is of an achieved does not already
    appropriate May be include an
    amplitude and implemented at acoustic actuator
    frequency to cause very low cost in
    sufficient force at systems which
    the nozzle to clear already include
    blockages. This is acoustic
    easiest to achieve actuators
    if the ultrasonic
    wave is at a
    resonant frequency
    of the ink cavity.
    Nozzle A microfabricated Can clear Accurate Silverbrook,
    clearing plate is pushed severely clogged mechanical EP 0771 658 A2
    plate against the nozzles alignment is and related
    nozzles. The plate required patent
    has a post for Moving parts applications
    every nozzle. A are required
    post moves There is risk
    through each of damage to the
    nozzle, displacing nozzles
    dried ink. Accurate
    fabrication is
    required
    Ink The pressure of the May be Requires May be used
    pressure ink is temporarily effective where pressure pump with all IJ series
    pulse increased so that other methods or other pressure ink jets
    ink streams from cannot be used actuator
    all of the nozzles. Expensive
    This may be used Wasteful of
    in conjunction ink
    with actuator
    energizing.
    Print A flexible ‘blade’ Effective for Difficult to Many ink jet
    head is wiped across the planar print head use if print head systems
    wiper print head surface. surfaces surface is non-
    The blade is Low cost planar or very
    usually fabricated fragile
    from a flexible Requires
    polymer, e.g. mechanical parts
    rubber or synthetic Blade can
    elastomer. wear out in high
    volume print
    systems
    Separate A separate heater Can be Fabrication Can be used
    ink is provided at the effective where complexity with many IJ
    boiling nozzle although other nozzle series ink jets
    heater the normal drop e- clearing methods
    ection mechanism cannot be used
    does not require it. Can be
    The heaters do not implemented at
    require individual no additional
    drive circuits, as cost in some ink
    many nozzles can jet
    be cleared configurations
    simultaneously,
    and no imaging is
    required.
  • [0000]
    NOZZLE PLATE CONSTRUCTION
    Description Advantages Disadvantages Examples
    Electro- A nozzle plate is Fabrication High Hewlett
    formed separately simplicity temperatures and Packard Thermal
    nickel fabricated from pressures are Ink jet
    electroformed required to bond
    nickel, and bonded nozzle plate
    to the print head Minimum
    chip. thickness
    constraints
    Differential
    thermal
    expansion
    Laser Individual nozzle No masks Each hole Canon
    ablated or holes are ablated required must be Bubblejet
    drilled by an intense UV Can be quite individually 1988 Sercel et
    polymer laser in a nozzle fast formed al., SPIE, Vol.
    plate, which is Some control Special 998 Excimer
    typically a over nozzle equipment Beam
    polymer such as profile is required Applications, pp.
    polyimide or possible Slow where 76-83
    polysulphone Equipment there are many 1993
    required is thousands of Watanabe et al.,
    relatively low nozzles per print U.S. Pat. No. 5,208,604
    cost head
    May produce
    thin burrs at exit
    holes
    Silicon A separate nozzle High accuracy Two part K. Bean,
    micro- plate is is attainable construction IEEE
    machined micromachined High cost Transactions on
    from single crystal Requires Electron
    silicon, and precision Devices, Vol.
    bonded to the print alignment ED-25, No. 10,
    head wafer. Nozzles may 1978, pp 1185-1195
    be clogged by Xerox 1990
    adhesive Hawkins et al.,
    U.S. Pat. No. 4,899,181
    Glass Fine glass No expensive Very small 1970 Zoltan
    capillaries capillaries are equipment nozzle sizes are U.S. Pat. No. 3,683,212
    drawn from glass required difficult to form
    tubing. This Simple to Not suited for
    method has been make single mass production
    used for making nozzles
    individual nozzles,
    but is difficult to
    use for bulk
    manufacturing of
    print heads with
    thousands of
    nozzles.
    Monolithic, The nozzle plate is High accuracy Requires Silverbrook,
    surface deposited as a (<1 μm) sacrificial layer EP 0771 658 A2
    micro- layer using Monolithic under the nozzle and related
    machined standard VLSI Low cost plate to form the patent
    using deposition Existing nozzle chamber applications
    VLSI techniques. processes can be Surface may IJ01, IJ02,
    litho- Nozzles are etched used be fragile to the IJ04, IJ11, IJ12,
    graphic in the nozzle plate touch IJ17, IJ18, IJ20,
    processes using VLSI IJ22, IJ24, IJ27,
    lithography and IJ28, IJ29, IJ30,
    etching. IJ31, IJ32, IJ33,
    IJ34, IJ36, IJ37,
    IJ38, IJ39, IJ40,
    IJ41, IJ42, IJ43,
    IJ44
    Monolithic, The nozzle plate is High accuracy Requires long IJ03, IJ05,
    etched a buried etch stop (<1 μm) etch times IJ06, IJ07, IJ08,
    through in the wafer. Monolithic Requires a IJ09, IJ10, IJ13,
    substrate Nozzle chambers Low cost support wafer IJ14, IJ15, IJ16,
    are etched in the No differential IJ19, IJ21, IJ23,
    front of the wafer, expansion IJ25, IJ26
    and the wafer is
    thinned from the
    back side. Nozzles
    are then etched in
    the etch stop layer.
    No nozzle Various methods No nozzles to Difficult to Ricoh 1995
    plate have been tried to become clogged control drop Sekiya et al U.S. Pat. No.
    eliminate the position 5,412,413
    nozzles entirely, to accurately 1993
    prevent nozzle Crosstalk Hadimioglu et al
    clogging. These problems EUP 550,192
    include thermal 1993 Elrod et
    bubble al EUP 572,220
    mechanisms and
    acoustic lens
    mechanisms
    Trough Each drop ejector Reduced Drop firing IJ35
    has a trough manufacturing direction is
    through which a complexity sensitive to
    paddle moves. Monolithic wicking.
    There is no nozzle
    plate.
    Nozzle slit The elimination of No nozzles to Difficult to 1989 Saito et
    instead of nozzle holes and become clogged control drop al U.S. Pat. No.
    individual replacement by a position 4,799,068
    nozzles slit encompassing accurately
    many actuator Crosstalk
    positions reduces problems
    nozzle clogging,
    but increases
    crosstalk due to
    ink surface waves
  • [0000]
    DROP EJECTION DIRECTION
    Description Advantages Disadvantages Examples
    Edge Ink flow is along Simple Nozzles Canon
    (‘edge the surface of the construction limited to edge Bubblejet 1979
    shooter’) chip, and ink drops No silicon High Endo et al GB
    are ejected from etching required resolution is patent 2,007,162
    the chip edge. Good heat difficult Xerox heater-
    sinking via Fast color in-pit 1990
    substrate printing requires Hawkins et al
    Mechanically one print head U.S. Pat. No. 4,899,181
    strong per color Tone-jet
    Ease of chip
    handing
    Surface Ink flow is along No bulk Maximum ink Hewlett-
    (‘roof the surface of the silicon etching flow is severely Packard TIJ
    shooter’) chip, and ink drops required restricted 1982 Vaught et
    are ejected from Silicon can al U.S. Pat. No.
    the chip surface, make an 4,490,728
    normal to the effective heat IJ02, IJ11,
    plane of the chip. sink IJ12, IJ20, IJ22
    Mechanical
    strength
    Through Ink flow is through High ink flow Requires bulk Silverbrook,
    chip, the chip, and ink Suitable for silicon etching EP 0771 658 A2
    forward drops are ejected pagewidth print and related
    (‘up from the front heads patent
    shooter’) surface of the chip. High nozzle applications
    packing density IJ04, IJ17,
    therefore low IJ18, IJ24, IJ27-IJ45
    manufacturing
    cost
    Through Ink flow is through High ink flow Requires IJ01, IJ03,
    chip, the chip, and ink Suitable for wafer thinning IJ05, IJ06, IJ07,
    reverse drops are ejected pagewidth print Requires IJ08, IJ09, IJ10,
    (‘down from the rear heads special handling IJ13, IJ14, IJ15,
    shooter’) surface of the chip. High nozzle during IJ16, IJ19, IJ21,
    packing density manufacture IJ23, IJ25, IJ26
    therefore low
    manufacturing
    cost
    Through Ink flow is through Suitable for Pagewidth Epson Stylus
    actuator the actuator, which piezoelectric print heads Tektronix hot
    is not fabricated as print heads require several melt
    part of the same thousand piezoelectric ink
    substrate as the connections to jets
    drive transistors. drive circuits
    Cannot be
    manufactured in
    standard CMOS
    fabs
    Complex
    assembly
    required
  • [0000]
    INK TYPE
    Description Advantages Disadvantages Examples
    Aqueous, Water based ink Environmentally Slow drying Most existing
    dye which typically friendly Corrosive ink jets
    contains: water, No odor Bleeds on All IJ series
    dye, surfactant, paper ink jets
    humectant, and May Silverbrook,
    biocide. strikethrough EP 0771 658 A2
    Modern ink dyes Cockles paper and related
    have high water- patent
    fastness, light applications
    fastness
    Aqueous, Water based ink Environmentally Slow drying IJ02, IJ04,
    pigment which typically friendly Corrosive IJ21, IJ26, IJ27,
    contains: water, No odor Pigment may IJ30
    pigment, Reduced bleed clog nozzles Silverbrook,
    surfactant, Reduced Pigment may EP 0771 658 A2
    humectant, and wicking clog actuator and related
    biocide. Reduced mechanisms patent
    Pigments have an strikethrough Cockles paper applications
    advantage in Piezoelectric
    reduced bleed, ink-jets
    wicking and Thermal ink
    strikethrough. jets (with
    significant
    restrictions)
    Methyl MEK is a highly Very fast Odorous All IJ series
    Ethyl volatile solvent drying Flammable ink jets
    Ketone used for industrial Prints on
    (MEK) printing on various
    difficult surfaces substrates such
    such as aluminum as metals and
    cans. plastics
    Alcohol Alcohol based inks Fast drying Slight odor All IJ series
    (ethanol, can be used where Operates at Flammable ink jets
    2-butanol, the printer must sub-freezing
    and operate at temperatures
    others) temperatures Reduced
    below the freezing paper cockle
    point of water. An Low cost
    example of this is
    in-camera
    consumer
    photographic
    printing.
    Phase The ink is solid at No drying High viscosity Tektronix hot
    change room temperature, time-ink Printed ink melt
    (hot melt) and is melted in instantly freezes typically has a piezoelectric ink
    the print head on the print ‘waxy’ feel jets
    before jetting. Hot medium Printed pages 1989 Nowak
    melt inks are Almost any may ‘block’ U.S. Pat. No. 4,820,346
    usually wax based, print medium Ink All IJ series
    with a melting can be used temperature may ink jets
    point around 80° C. No paper be above the
    After jetting cockle occurs curie point of
    the ink freezes No wicking permanent
    almost instantly occurs magnets
    upon contacting No bleed Ink heaters
    the print medium occurs consume power
    or a transfer roller. No Long warm-
    strikethrough up time
    occurs
    Oil Oil based inks are High High All IJ series
    extensively used in solubility viscosity: this is ink jets
    offset printing. medium for a significant
    They have some dyes limitation for use
    advantages in Does not in ink jets, which
    improved cockle paper usually require a
    characteristics on Does not wick low viscosity.
    paper (especially through paper Some short
    no wicking or chain and multi-
    cockle). Oil branched oils
    soluble dies and have a
    pigments are sufficiently low
    required. viscosity.
    Slow drying
    Micro- A microemulsion Stops ink Viscosity All IJ series
    emulsion is a stable, self bleed higher than ink jets
    forming emulsion High dye water
    of oil, water, and solubility Cost is
    surfactant. The Water, oil, slightly higher
    characteristic drop and amphiphilic than water based
    size is less than soluble dies can ink
    100 nm, and is be used High
    determined by the Can stabilize surfactant
    preferred curvature pigment concentration
    of the surfactant. suspensions required (around
    5%)
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Clasificaciones
Clasificación de EE.UU.347/54
Clasificación internacionalB41J2/05, B41J2/175, B41J2/14, B41J2/04, B41J2/16
Clasificación cooperativaB41J2/1637, B41J2/1623, B41J2/1632, B41J2/1642, B41J2/14427, B41J2002/14435, B41J2/1628, B41J2/1629, Y10T29/49156, B41J2/1648, B41J2/1433, B41J2002/041, B41J2202/15, B41J2/14, Y10T29/49128, Y10T29/49401, Y10T29/4913, B41J2/16, B41J2002/14475, B41J2/1639, Y10T29/49155, B41J2/1631, B41J2002/14346, B41J2/17596, B41J2/1635
Clasificación europeaB41J2/14S, B41J2/16S, B41J2/16M7, B41J2/16M6, B41J2/16M7S, B41J2/14G, B41J2/16M4, B41J2/16M1, B41J2/16M8C, B41J2/16, B41J2/16M5, B41J2/14, B41J2/16M3D, B41J2/16M3W, B41J2/175P
Eventos legales
FechaCódigoEventoDescripción
7 Jul 2010ASAssignment
Owner name: SILVERBROOK RESEARCH PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SILVERBROOK, KIA;MCAVOY, GREGORY JOHN;REEL/FRAME:024641/0293
Effective date: 20070501
11 Jul 2012ASAssignment
Owner name: ZAMTEC LIMITED, IRELAND
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SILVERBROOK RESEARCH PTY. LIMITED AND CLAMATE PTY LIMITED;REEL/FRAME:028528/0174
Effective date: 20120503