High-speed laser speckle imaging to unravel picoliter drop-on-demand to substrate interaction

R. Antonelli, R. Fokkink, N. Tomozeiu, J. Sprakel, T.E. Kodger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding phenomena such as evaporation and imbibition of picoliter droplets into porous substrates is crucial in printing industry to achieve a higher printing quality and print speed. After printing, the residual pigment must remain fixed at the desired location on a substrate and be of a desired volume to yield a high resolution and vibrantly printed page that has become the expectation of modern printing technology. Current research entails not only chemical composition of the ink but also how this links to the dynamics and interactions that occur between the ink and the substrate at every stage of the printed spot formation, including evaporation, wetting, and imbibition. In this paper, we present an instrument that can print on-demand picoliter volume droplets of ink onto substrates and then immediately record on evolution of the resulting dynamics when these two materials interact. This high-speed laser speckle imaging (HS-LSI) technique has been developed to monitor nanometer displacement of the drying and imbibing ink droplet at a high frame rate, up to 20000 Hz, given the short timescales of these interactions. We present the design of the instrument, discuss the related challenges and the theory underlying the LSI technique, specifically how photons non-evasively probe opaque objects in a multiple scattering regime, and show how this technique can unravel the dynamics of drying and imbibition. We will finish giving a validation on the instrument and an example of its usage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number083906
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021


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