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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.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-01-01

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  • For more than 30 years, IS&T's series of digital printing conferences have been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in 2D and 3D printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference that brings together industry and academia, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems?particularly those involved with additive manufacturing and fabrication?including bio-printing, printed electronics, page-wide, drop-on-demand, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based systems, and production digital printing, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields. In 2016, the conference changed its name formally to Printing for Fabrication to better reflect the content of the meeting and the evolving technology of printing.

    Please note: For purposes of its Digital Library content, IS&T defines Open Access as papers that will be downloadable in their entirety for free in perpetuity. Copyright restrictions on papers vary; see individual paper for details.

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