STTR PHASE I: Modupulsed Electrography-A Disruptive Technology for Digital Printing

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0739757
Agency Tracking Number: 0739757
Amount: $149,792.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2008
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: AM
Solicitation Number: NSF 07-551
Small Business Information
114 East Vine Street, Lancaster, PA, 17602
DUNS: 082988457
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Richard Fantazier
 DPhil
 (717) 575-0620
 rfantazier@rdimagetech.com
Business Contact
 Richard Fantazier
Title: DPhil
Phone: (717) 575-0620
Email: rfantazier@rdimagetech.com
Research Institution
 The Pennsylvania State University
 Clive Randall
 151 Materials Research Laboratory
University Park, PA, 16802-4800
 (814) 863-1328
 Nonprofit college or university
Abstract
This STTR Phase I project aimed at developing a new digital color printing technology having the capability of producing high-fidelity, continuous-tone prints at high speeds and wide widths. The technology, called ME Digital, is based on a unique process that precisely deposits electrons from a micro-plasma array to produce a latent electrostatic image on a printable substrate. This research will address two deficiencies in current technology, the absence of electronic drivers to precisely control the micro-generation and micro-deposition of electrons and the inability to fabricate a print head that resists breakdown under the severe operating conditions imposed by high-speed printing. The project will develop precision fabrication processes for selected ceramic print head materials and conductive inks, and the means to design fabrication methods and components that maintain tolerances through firing operations. The key component in the electronics is the radio-frequency source that drives the print head. High voltage is required to generate the plasma. Maintaining control of the output once the plasma forms is the focus of the electronics work. Computer modeling has provided designs that will be tested for their ability to drive multiple plasma sites. In addition to providing the printing industry with a unique new capability, this research will greatly expand the scope of applications for precision fabricated ceramic materials as well as enhance understanding of the behavior of the materials in the region of a plasma discharge. The ME Digital printing process will benefit the large field of powder coating by providing a method for precisely depositing powders to allow multi-color imaging. The ability to generate and control a micro plasma array that deposits electrons at ambient temperatures and normal atmospheres would lead to the fabrication of large-scale plasma display screens that can operate in air. On a small scale, the ability to introduce controlled local plasmas into microsystem packages will provide a means for cleaning and for decomposing constituents with implications for chemical and biochemical analysis.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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