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Measurement of Mass of Single Inkjet Drops with a Quartz Crystal Microbalance QCM

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Monitoring inkjet performance requires control of parameters such as drop velocity, direction and drop volume. Present methods to determine drop volume utilize optical vision systems or calculation of an average drop mass from large numbers of drops on a precision balance.

An alternative technique based on QCM (Quartz Crystal Microbalance) was assessed to measure the mass of single drops. Low-cost plano-convex 6 MHz AT-cut quartz resonators were used to measure single inkjet drops. Since the footprint of these ink drops is of the order 100 μm the QCM detector was used in a ‘localized spot’ measurement mode in contrast to the typical large area detection mode. The sensitivity of an inner 0.5 mm circle was determined to be 5.46 × 10−10 g/Hz for solid silver films.

Single drops of an oil-based ink of 50 pL nominal volume were jetted using a Xaar126 piezo inkjet printhead onto the QCM target area and produced signals with a SNR better than 70:1. This paper presents the technical challenges relating to liquid droplet volume measurements using higher frequency oscillators.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • For more than 25 years, NIP has been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in non-impact and digital printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems, including drop-on-demand ink jet, wide format ink jet, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based electrophotographic printers, production digital printing systems, and thermal printing systems, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields.

    Since 2005, NIP has been held in conjunction with the Digital Fabrication Conference.

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