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New Epson Inkjet research in Cambridge - The new laboratory is the second to be built after the Inkjet Open Laboratory, which was opened in July at Seiko Epson's Suwa Minami Plant in Japan.
Epson is well known throughout the world for its high-quality photo printers that employ its original inkjet technology. The company has spent many years developing revolutionary micro liquid processes that form the base of this inkjet technology. Micro liquid processes involve the high-precision placement of ink droplets measured in picoliters (1,000 billionth of a liter) and nanograms (1,000 millionth of a gram) to draw patterns directly and make films of uniform thickness, with possible future applications existing in genetic sciences and molecular factories. In particular, Epson believes that inkjet technology could be used to reduce the large number of photolithographic processes used in the manufacture of semiconductors to between one and three processes. This would reduce the environmental burden by reducing the materials discarded during photolithography by more than 90%.
The potential for inkjet methods in production technology has come under increasing focus in recent years. However, it is still a relatively new field, and further research is required to develop industrial applications. Seiko Epson believes that micro liquid processes offer many opportunities as an energy and resource saving production technology. Following on from the Suwa Minami Inkjet Open Laboratory, the new Inkjet Open Laboratory has been established with the aim of working with laboratory users to employ inkjet technology to develop products with volume production potential and to establish new applications.
The new facilities have an area of approximately 5,000 square feet (464.5 meters), which comprise 3,000 square feet (278.7 meters) of laboratory space and 2,000 square feet (185.8 meters) for administration.
As with the Suwa Minami Inkjet Open Laboratory, the new laboratory will be used to verify the potential for production and reliability of inkjet technology in addition to testing applications for the technology. The results of the research will be used by laboratory users in the development of their joint business and for expansion into new business fields.