Technology Used in Inkjet Printers
Inkjet printers, which enable almost anyone to easily create high-quality photo prints, are an integration of precision technologies, including those for ink and print heads. Canon's ability to combine component technologies has elevated the quality of inkjet printers to new heights.
FINE (Full-Photolithography Inkjet Nozzle Engineering)
Controlling Microscopic Ink Droplets
After developing the basic mechanisms used in inkjet printers, Canon has continued to foster new ideas and original technologies in the field. FINE is the key technology behind these innovations. FINE's ink ejection mechanism and print head manufacturing technology have enabled Canon to achieve dramatic improvements in image quality, gradation expression, and image stability.
Ejection Mechanism for Accurate Placement of Microscopic Ink Droplets as Small as 1 Picoliter*1
Microscopic ink droplets and precise ejection are essential to high image quality. With conventional ejection systems, however, the finer the ink droplets, the more vulnerable they are to airflow disturbances from print head movement and changes in ink viscosity due to temperature fluctuations, resulting in inconsistent ejection volumes and ink dot placement.
Canon's FINE print head ensures that all the ink under the heater is pushed out in a single ejection to ensure efficient performance. Ink droplet speed has been increased to more than 1.5 times that of conventional systems, reducing their susceptibility to airflow disturbances to enable increased placement accuracy.
FINE's Ink-Ejection Process
- *1 picoliter (pl) : 1 pl = one trillionth of a liter
Print Head Manufacturing Technologies Using Nanoprecision Semiconductor Exposure Equipment
Achieving smaller droplet sizes and faster print speeds requires high-precision fabrication technologies to enable the placement of a greater number of nozzles over a wider area. Canon's FINE print heads are made by integrating the heaters and nozzles into a single unit on a wafer using a process that makes the most of the company's expertise in semiconductor production, as well as its original material technologies and innovative processing technologies. The ability to fabricate nozzles with high precision over large areas without using bonding processes makes it possible to arrange 6,000 or more nozzles within an area measuring a mere 20 mm x 16 mm, roughly the size of a thumbprint.
Print Head with Enlarged View of Nozzle Configuration
Long-Lasting Beauty of Photos
ChromaLife100+ is an advanced system for preserving the beauty of photos that combines Canon's genuine dye inks*3 and genuine photo paper to produce photos with a 300-year album storage, 30-year light fastness, and gas fastness of 20 years.*4
Multiple performance demands are simultaneously placed on the inks used in Canon inkjet printers, including heat stability, the maintenance of fine droplet configuration (proper spheres of 1 pl), and safety. Bright coloration, high ink density, and fade resistance are also vital. Due to the modification of the dye architecture of the ink and the addition of a new longevity improver to the photo paper, gas fastness has improved significantly. In addition, the ability to reproduce colors in the red region has been expanded, making it possible to preserve fresh, rich colors over an extended period of time.
- *3 Dye inks
A type of ink in which the coloring material is dissolved at the molecular level; ideally suited for use in photo prints.
- *4 300-year album storage, 30-year light-fastness, and gas-fastness of 20 years.
Permanence figures are projections based on tests conducted under accelerated environmental conditions and are not guaranteed. More detailed information about how these projections are calculated, and the criteria used, can be found on below.
About album storage:
Album storage is based on the assumption that printout is stored in an archival album with a plastic cover sheet and kept in the dark.
Criteria for estimation
The permanence presented above is estimated by using an accelerated dark storage test (ISO 18924). Samples are kept in a controlled environment with high temperature and 50% relative humidity. The test environment is designed to accelerate color fading. The rate of decrease in optical density and rate of yellow discoloration of the paper are measured. Finally, the results are extrapolated to the length of time when a printed image is kept in an environment of 23°C at 50% relative humidity.
About light fastness:
Criteria for estimation
Estimated light fastness is made under the following test conditions.
Light source: White fluorescent light 70,000 lux; Temperature: 24°C; Humidity: 60% RH; A 2-mm thick glass is placed on the sample with an air gap between the glass and the sample during accelerated testing.
About gas fastness:
Criteria for estimation
Estimated gas fastness is made under the following test conditions:
Temperature (24°C) and humidity (60% RH) are controlled in an environment of mixed gases of O3, NOx and SOx.
The ratio of the gases is typical to indoor air composition (O3: NOx: SOx = 3:19:1) with 100 times concentration in order to accelerate color fading.
Criteria for estimation of print longevity shown above
Estimates for image permanence are made using the Wilhelm Imaging Research, Inc. endpoint criteria "WIR Visually-Weighted Endpoint Criteria Set v3.0" as follows: The point where monochromatic/reflective optical density shows loss of 20-35% (figure set respectively for each color, starting density of 1.0 and 0.6). The point where the difference in color balance of yellow, magenta and cyan (each component in composite black) reaches 12-18%.
Samples were printed with an optical density of 1.0 and 0.6 (each black, cyan, magenta, yellow) using default printer driver setting for each media.
For the longevity figures appearing in this section, prints were produced through a combination of Canon Photo Paper Plus Glossy II print media, 2008 new dye ink.
Auto Photo Fix II
Providing Higher Quality Photo Correction by Multi-Zone Exposure Correction
Canon Auto Photo Fix technology is a technology that automatically analyzes and classifies photographs and makes appropriate corrections.
Auto Photo Fix identifies faces in the image, then analyzes the features of the image and infers the type of scene. Corrections are then implemented based on the face identification and scene classification results. Auto Photo Fix uses face identification technology that is significantly more advanced than conventional face identification technologies. Scene categorization makes use of image analysis technology based on detailed analyses of a huge database of photo images.
For portraits, Auto Photo Fix detects subjects' faces and optimally adjusts skin tones and brightness. With scenery photos, emphasis is placed on making the photos as colorful and striking as possible. When a photograph contains both faces and scenery, the technology aims for an automatically well-balanced image by producing natural skin tones against a vivid background. Furthermore, by identifying underexposed areas in the photo, brightness can be optimized as needed by area.
Auto Photo Fix II Process
- *5 Optimizing correction effects
Specific forms of correction include brightness correction by area, color cast correction, exposure correction, face color correction, and face brightening (backlight adjustment). On the basis of the scene categorization results, Auto Photo Fix implements scene-type optimization (tone adjustment and increased saturation); depending on the scene, specific colors may be emphasized to achieve optimal correction.