What are picoliters and how this determines the quality of print?

10. September 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

Inkjet printers are prized for their ability to produce high-quality prints. As long as you're not too concerned about speed, you can rely on inkjet printers for the best quality and resolution. Not surprisingly, there are different levels of quality among modern inkjet printers. In other words, all inkjet printers are not created equal. How are you supposed to determine whether an inkjet printer offers the quality and resolution that you need? The easiest way is by keeping two important factors in mind: DPI and picoliters. DPI refers to dots per inch while picoliters are units of measure that refer to the size of those dots. Learn how these factors affect inkjet print quality below.

What is a Picoliter?

As you may have surmised, a picoliter is a smaller subdivision of a standard liter. It is extremely small and undetectable to the naked human eye. Extremely small drops of ink produce clearer and crisper results. The smaller a drop of ink is, the more drops that can cover a single inch of paper. As a result, small droplets of ink produce more dots per inch, which results in higher resolution. It is therefore very advantageous to choose an inkjet printer that dispenses very tiny droplets of ink.

How Large is a Picoliter?

It's almost impossible to fathom how tiny a picoliter is. For instance, a single droplet of rain contains hundreds of thousands of picoliters. A picoliter is roughly one-trillionth the size of a standard liter. One liter equals about one cubic decimeter, so a kiloliter equals a cubic meter. Therefore, a picoliter equals a thousand cubic micrometers, or one-millionth of a meter. These proportions are truly mind-boggling, but they exemplify why it pays to choose a printer whose droplets are measured in very small picoliters.

Smaller Droplets Equal Higher Resolution

Extremely tiny droplets of ink are capable of producing much crisper and more vibrant results. As you look for a new inkjet printer, pay attention to information about the size of the droplets that it produces. Ideally, they should be measured in very small picoliters, which means that more dots per inch will be printed onto each page. This is the simplest way to gauge the overall quality of the prints that will be produced by an inkjet printer. Of course, it also pays to keep the type of inkjet nozzle technology that is used in mind as well.

Inkjet Nozzle Technology and Print Quality

The vast majority of inkjet printers use thermal nozzle technology. In this case, the ink is heated up until it bubbles. When the bubbles burst, the ink is forced through the nozzles and onto the paper. The process is extremely efficient, and the technology is very affordable. The other option is piezoelectric technology, which relies on vibrations instead of heat. Electrical charges cause crystals to vibrate, which then forces fine droplets of ink out of the nozzles. In either instance, the size of the droplets that are produced is measured in picoliters.

Which Technology is Right for You?

Don't let the fact that there are two main types of inkjet nozzle technology confuse you. At the end of the day, the important thing to know is that the droplets that are produced in either case are measured in picoliters. By taking a closer look at the DPI of a printer, you will be able to tell just how tiny those droplets are. If quality trumps speed on your list of priorities, you can't go wrong with an inkjet printer. If you'd like exceptional quality but want an affordable price too, an inkjet printer that uses thermal nozzle technology is sure to work perfectly.   

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