Published:27 Nov 2017
Once upon a time, in the earliest years of the 21st century, I had just started my first post-doc which involved using inkjet printers. It was then that I started to ask questions about inkjet printing. At first, they were the questions we all ask, at the start, such as “Why doesn’t it work?”, “Why won’t it do what I want it to do?” and so on, but as my career progressed the questions I asked became “What can I do with an inkjet printer that is unique?” and “What are inkjet’s main strengths?”
This book forms the current answer to what I think is inkjet’s principle strength, namely its ability to dispense more than one ink in a printing pass. We employ this ability every day when we print off an interesting journal paper, a tasty recipe or colourful invitations. With reactive inkjet printing the difference is in the inks. Instead of using suspensions of pigments or dyes, the inks we use are chemical reactants. Reactive inkjet printing extends the range of materials that can be patterned by inkjet. We are no longer bound to depositing materials that have to be made into ink form first.
The purpose of this book is to present a survey of the current research areas in which reactive inkjet printing either contributes to, or forms an essential foundation. As with many books, towards the end of the process one feels a sense of panic because the initial dreams of the book being a comprehensive, exhaustive and authoritative survey give way to realism and the external pressures for one’s time that most modern day academics experience.
As such, it is with heartfelt sincerity that I and my fellow editor, Aoife, offer our thanks to all of our contributing authors. Thank you! We have been enriched and educated by your contributions. We are thrilled that our authors represent a broad range of disciplines and include those who wrote some of the first papers on reactive inkjet printing. The application topics range from printed electronics through additive manufacture to tissue engineering, which illustrates the versatility and appeal of both inkjet and reactive inkjet printing.
We have been honoured by the time, commitment and experience our contributing authors have been willing to share with us and with you, our reader. It is my hope and Aoife’s that you find this book to be a source of information and inspiration.
Finally, Aoife and I would like to thank Leanne Marle for being at the start and end of this project. The initial idea for the book developed from a conversation in Boston in December 2013 between Leanne and me; along the way the discussion became serious and finally last year, 2016, Aoife and I began the project, the result of which you can now see. We’d also like to thank Cara Sutton and especially, Catriona Clarke for their guidance, assistance and encouragement.
It is my hope that you find this book to be a fascinating answer.
Patrick J. Smith, Sheffield, England