World's smallest 'ink-jet' paves the way for new quantum dot printing applications
Swedish researchers from ETH Zurich and Scrona have printed the smallest ink-jet printed colour image ever made, receiving a Guinness World Record for their attempt.
The company used quantum dots, rather than a traditional spray of ink, to create the miniscule image that measures 80 x 115µ in total. The picture was printed at 25,000dpi, with the laydown of each quantum dot controlled individually.
Quantum dots are nanoparticles that change colour depending on their size and have already been employed in flat panel screens from LG and Samsung.
This accomplishment has been timed around the launch of Scrona's Kickstarter campaign, which seeks funding for a miniature microscope powerful enough to view such tiny images. The project offers backers a copy of their own images printed using quantum dot technology.
"This experiment was a very interesting gimmick, but a gimmick nonetheless," explains Chris Green, a technology expert at the business consultancy Lewis, in comment to the BBC. "But as a technical exercise to demonstrate the sheer versatility of what quantum dot technology can do with regards to imaging, it's an absolutely fascinating demonstration of what can be achieved with what is not that expensive technology."
Despite this, ETH Zurich claims that it has not been possible to 'handle these nanostructured materials with the incredible accuracy that is demonstrated by this Guinness World Records achievement'. The researchers hope that this will pave the way for the use of quantum dots and nanostructured materials in the display sector.