Technology Overview

Piezoelectric Inkjet

Piezoelectric inkjet technology uses piezoelectric material as a key active component within the inkjet printhead. Piezoelectric material exhibits a phenomenon called the piezo effect – i.e. when force is applied to certain (natural) materials, a charge (electricity) is produced. Another effect – the reverse piezo effect – occurs when you apply electricity to the material – in this case the material deforms (ie moves). Piezoelectric printheads incorporate PZT, which is a manufactured and poled piezoelectric material. All piezo printheads work in the same way. The material is deformed in order to fire an ink drop.

Jetting Ink

The printhead is the part of a printing system that contains nozzles for jetting ink. Piezoelectric printheads are made up of an active component called the 'actuator', a series of pipes and channels collectively known as the 'fluid path' and some electronics to control the individual channels. The actuator contains a series of parallel walls, made of PZT, that make up the channels. In Xaar’s bulk technology printheads, the electrical current is applied to the walls of the ink channels and the walls move as a result. Movement of the channel walls creates acoustic pressure waves which in turn eject ink from the nozzles at the end or side of each of the channels.