Dynamics of individual inkjet printed picoliter droplet elucidated by high speed laser speckle imaging

Riccardo Antonelli, Remco Fokkink, Joris Sprakel, Thomas E. Kodger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Inkjet printing is a ubiquitous consumer and industrial process that involves concomitant processes of droplet impact, wetting, evaporation, and imbibement into a substrate as well as consequential substrate rearrangements and remodeling. In this work, we perform a study on the interaction between ink dispersions of different composition on substrates of increasing complexity to disentangle the motion of the liquid from the dynamic response of the substrate. We print three variations of pigmented inks and follow the ensuing dynamics at millisecond and micron time and length scales until complete drying using a multiple scattering technique, laser speckle imaging (LSI). Measurements of the photon transport mean free path, l*, for the printed inks and substrates show that the spatial region of information capture is the entire droplet volume and a depth within the substrate of a few μm beneath the droplet. Within this spatial confinement, LSI is an ideal approach for studying the solid-liquid transition at these small length and time scales by obtaining valid g2 and d2 autocorrelation functions and interpreting these dynamic changes under through kymographs. Our in situ LSI results show that droplets undergo delamination and cracking processes arising during droplet drying, which are confirmed by post mortem SEM imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2141-2150
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number9
Early online date8 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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