Accessing individual 75-micron diameter nozzles of a desktop inkjet printer to dispense picoliter droplets on demand

R. Waasdorp, Oscar van den Heuvel, Floyd Versluis, Bram Hajee, Murali Ghatkesar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Desktop inkjet printers are ubiquitous and relatively inexpensive among the variety of available printers. These inkjet printers use an array of micro fluidic pumps, nozzles based on piezoelectric actuation, to dispense individual picoliter volume ink droplets at high speed. In this paper, we show that individual pumps in desktop printers can be accessed to dispense droplets on demand. Access was obtained using the printer’s command language programming. A detailed description of the access procedure is discussed. Droplets were printed on a paper as it rolled underneath the printhead, and with a minor hardware modification, they were also printed on a glass substrate. With this access, individual droplets were deposited, the smallest having an average diameter of 62 μm with a standard deviation of 6.9 μm, with a volume of ∼4 pL. From the intended position, the droplets had a standard deviation of 5.4 μm and 8.4 μm in the vertical and horizontal directions, respectively. The ink droplets were dispensed at a rate of 7.1 kHz. A circularity factor of 0.86 was obtained indicating that the dispensed droplets are of good quality. By replacing the ink in the cartridges with liquids of choice (e.g. cells, proteins, nanoparticles etc.), we believe it provides an opportunity for low-cost, high-speed, high-precision, picoliter volume printing for a variety of applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14765-14774
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • OA-Fund TU Delft

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