Piezoelectric thin film paves the way for ultrafast printing

Japanese engineers say they have created a piezoelectric thin film that could enable a new generation of high speed printing.

Researchers from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Kyoto University and others claim that for the first time they have achieved a switching time of 200 nanoseconds to power ultrafast MEMS printing.

Analysing the structural changes when a high speed electric current is applied to ferroelectric thin film, a type of piezoelectric, they found that they were able to cause a switching time they claim is a world record.

Piezoelectric thin films are able to provide the power for incredibly high resolution MEMS inkjet printers that can print staggeringly quickly.

The researchers say that switching time cannot be controlled adequately with the current generation of piezoelectric thin films and are hoping that their development can lead to greater industrial applications and higher performance products.

This will allow higher speed “fine printing” with a smaller quantity of ink than is possible with conventional technology, with the minute MEMS devices responsible for ink coating in ink jet printers.

According to the researchers, increased performance in MEMS devices will also provide benefits in the automotive world, with more accurate control over fuel consumption in engines by applying the technology to ceramic parts which control fuel use efficiency.