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Surface functionalized toner particles by a flexible synthesis route for three dimensional electro photography

G.E.M. Tovar
Fraunhofer Institute IGB / University of Stuttgart, DE

Keywords: laser printing, composite particle, click chemistry, biofunctionalization


During the last decades, electro photography („laser printing“) has emerged to become one of the leading technologies for two dimensional printing. The xerographic process enables the simultaneous alignment of multiple toner components during a single printing cycle. In addition, chemical toner synthesis has recently increased the spatial resolution up to 1200 dpi (smaller than 50 µm) by improved control over the spherical toner geometry in comparison to conventional milling processes. Yet, in contrast to the well-established inkjet process, investigation of three dimensional (3D) electro photography has just been started. First research results revealed a severe macroscopic deformation of the printed 3D objects during the conventional curing procedure. Repetitive melting of the toner at elevated temperatures (T > 120 °C) caused a strong surface corrugation, which prevented further deposition of additional particles, thus prohibiting a 3D layer-by-layer assembly via laser printing. Therefore, we have started to develop a new and flexible synthesis route for functional electro photographic toners based on UV polymerization via suspension polymerization. This approach enables the synthesis of spherical polymeric particles with a diameter of 5 µm – 30 µm with adjustable glass transition temperatures, allowing for curing at low temperatures. The inert particle surfaces of the acrylic copolymers were activated by hydrolysis and metal organic enolat chemistry to introduce various chemical “click” functionalities consisting of thiols, azides and dienes. This new class of toners promises to become a versatile tool for new 3D applications using common laser printing techniques.
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