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Microscopy of Inkjet Printing.
A closeup look at the process and its results.  
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Closeup of injet printed gloss paper.
Highly magnified view of colour inkjet printed gloss paper.

The Print Head.

The picture below shows part of the jet array of the print head of the black cartridge from a Canon BJC 4200SP colour inkjet printer at a magnification of x100. The head has been wiped with a paper tissue, leaving tiny droplets of ink on the surface.
The jets themselves are seen to be filled with ink to a level just below the surface of the head, leaving a concave meniscus of exposed ink.

Closeup of print head.
Part of the jet array from a Canon black printer head x100.
Click the picture to see a superimposed scale bar.

That the surface is concave is confirmed by the fact that the reflections of the light source are below the centre of the jet aperture, whereas the reflections on the convex surface droplets are above the centre of the shape of the drop -- as would be expected for a light incident from the top of the picture.

The Printout.

The picture below has been taken at the same magnification as the one above, and is a detail from a print on glossy paper made by a Canon BJC4200SP colour bubblejet printer.

Glossy colour print.
Detail of a glossy colour inkjet print at x100.

The way in which the ink dyes have spread and dried into the paper surface is a very important factor determining the appearance of the final print. These characteristics are strongly influenced by the nature of the paper surface, dye droplet spread and penetration, and other factors which will be investigated more fully in this ongoing article.