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Ladungsniederschlagssteuerung in einem elektrographischen Dünnschicht-Druckkopf. - Dokument EP0299798
 
PatentDe  


Dokumentenidentifikation EP0299798 17.09.1992
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0299798
Titel Ladungsniederschlagssteuerung in einem elektrographischen Dünnschicht-Druckkopf.
Anmelder Xerox Corp., Rochester, N.Y., US
Erfinder O'Connell, Patrick A., Fremont California 94536, US
Vertreter Grünecker, A., Dipl.-Ing.; Kinkeldey, H., Dipl.-Ing. Dr.-Ing.; Stockmair, W., Dipl.-Ing. Dr.-Ing. Ae.E. Cal Tech; Schumann, K., Dipl.-Phys. Dr.rer.nat.; Jakob, P., Dipl.-Ing.; Bezold, G., Dipl.-Chem. Dr.rer.nat.; Meister, W., Dipl.-Ing.; Hilgers, H., Dipl.-Ing.; Meyer-Plath, H., Dipl.-Ing. Dr.-Ing.; Ehnold, A., Dipl.-Ing.; Schuster, T., Dipl.-Phys.; Goldbach, K., Dipl.-Ing.Dr.-Ing.; Aufenanger, M., Dipl.-Ing.; Klitzsch, G., Dipl.-Ing., Pat.-Anwälte, 8000 München
DE-Aktenzeichen 3873651
Vertragsstaaten DE, FR, GB
Sprache des Dokument En
EP-Anmeldetag 15.07.1988
EP-Aktenzeichen 883065278
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 18.01.1989
EP date of grant 12.08.1992
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 17.09.1992
IPC-Hauptklasse B41J 2/395

Beschreibung[en]

This invention relates to thin film high voltage electrographic writing heads for recording information on a recording medium and, in particular, to improvements in the control of the phenomenon known as "flare" or "flaring" that occurs upon electrode discharge in electrographic writing processes. The invention is especially concerned with an electrographic writing head for forming discrete electrostatic charges on a recording medium moved in a plane relative to said head comprising a substrate, a plurality of spatially disposed electrode lines formed on said substrate, and a writing nib formed at the end of each of said electrode lines and having its writing tip lying along an edge of said substrate.

It is known in the electrographic writing head art to employ for electrographic writing a plurality of spatially disposed conductive electrode lines deposited on an insulating substrate which terminate in a nib or stylus. The nibs may be of any metal suitably formed using for example photolithographic and electroforming techniques such as copper, nickel or tungsten, or may be polysilicon formed on a silicon or ceramic substrate. Examples of such electrographic writing head structures are disclosed in US-A-4,356,501 and 4,415,403. These thin film electrographic writing head structures also have included driving logic and circuitry integrally fabricated upon the same head substrate, such as the multiplexed driving circuit, high voltage and low voltage thin film transistors and accompanying address and data bus lines. Low voltage address lines operate to selectively address nibs or groups of nibs for discharging by applying a high voltage to the stylus via its connected high voltage thin film transistor. Such an arrangement is shown in US-A-4,588,997. Pulse forming circuit arrangements may include a R-C network between a voltage source and the nibs for the purpose of providing lower address voltages to the nibs and facilitating the supply of voltage to the nibs to cause a sufficient discharge for latent image writing. Examples of such networks are shown in US-A-4,030,107, 4,359,753 and 4,466,020.

One of the problems encountered in this technology is that the discharge from the nibs is not always uniform so that the latent image spots created on the recording medium are nonuniform in shape and enlarged or irregular in size compared to other latent image spots. This phenomenon is known in the art as "fare" or "flaring". Flare is detrimental to the quality of printed or plotted images on the recording medium because the spot sizes formed on the recording medium on discharge of the nibs are not uniform and flare out in an irregular pattern. Also, arcing across nibs to the recording medium further causes such enlargement and destructive disfiguration of the uniformity of spot size. To prevent flaring from occurring, limiting resistors have been placed in the driving logic or in the electrode lead lines leading to the nibs to limit the flow of current to the nibs and prevent such arcing and spot size irregularity. Examples of resistance that particularly function in this manner are disclosed in Russian patent publication No. 611,173 and US-A-4,415,403, which respectively illustrate limiting resistors 3 and 82 in electrode lead lines to stylus or nib 1 and 88.

However, the problem of flaring still prevails in the art in spite of the utilization of such limiting resistors. Flaring still occurs and spot sizes, while being more uniform in size, still remain with ragged edges and nonuniform size.

The present invention is intended to overcome this problem, and provides an electrographic writing head of the kind specified which is characterised by an impedance formed in each of said nibs to reduce the intercoupling capacitance effect between adjacently disposed nibs to thereby prevent flaring from occurring on the deposition of charge from said writing tips onto the recording medium.

According to this invention, flaring can be substantially eliminated or significantly reduced, forming uniform latent image spots by providing resistance in the nibs per se or in an area in the nibs close to the nib ends. Flaring is caused by an excessive form of discharge due to the energy stored by the capacitance that inherently exists between spatially adjacent nibs. Upon discharge of an adjacent nib, the energy stored in this capacitance is also discharged resulting in an arc discharge which is uncontrolled by any impedance intended for current limiting as taught in the prior art. By incorporating impedance at or adjacent to the nib end, current limiting is imposed upon the inherent capacitance between adjacent nibs to eliminate or substantially reduce the ability of an associated nib to flare thereby improve the writing quality of the electrographic writing head.

Another advantage achieved by the use of impedance at the nib is that in the event of an electrical short circuit between neighboring nibs or an inadvertent connection of nibs of significantly different potential, the resulting flow of current therebetween will be sufficiently small so that no damage will occur to the electrode structure or their driving logic which damage would be catastrophic preventing further use of the electrographic writing head.

An electrographic writing head in accordance with the invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:-

  • Figure 1 is a schematic illustration of the circuit arrangement known in the prior art.
  • Figure 2 is a schematic illustration of the circuit arrangement comprising this invention.
  • Figure 3 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a nib structure for an electrographic writing head of this invention.
  • Figure 4 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a nib structure for an electrographic writing head of this invention.
  • Figure 5 is a perspective view of still another embodiment of a nib structure for an electrographic writing head of this invention.

Reference is now made to Figure 1 wherein there is shown a typical circuit arrangement to the electrode nibs of an electrographic writing head exclusive of voltage sources and drivers. Only three nibs and their accompanying circuit arrangement are shown for purposes of simplicity, as there are several hundreds of nibs across the head. The circuit arrangement for each nib 10 in the head comprises a pulse forming circuit containing a capacitor 12 and a load resistor or impedance 14 connected together to nib 10. Impedance 14 is required generally due to the large capacitance value of capacitor 12. The R-C time constant of this arrangement is selected to provide a sufficiently quick response time and duration to conclude with a pulse that will provide Paschen voltage breakdown in the gap 15 between the end of nib 10 and recording medium 18 resulting in a discharge and deposition of a writing spot on the surface of the recording medium. Limiting resistor 16 is included for current limiting to prevent arcing resulting in enlargement and nonuniform alteration of the writing spot. This type of arrangement is generally shown, for example, in US-A-4,359,753 and 4,415,403, supra.

In spite of the use of limiting resistors 16, the problem of flaring persists so that it is clear that the use per se of such resistors 16 in the lead line to the nibs is not sufficient to prevent flaring to a degree that writing resolution is improved to an acceptable level.

The solution to the problem is by, first, proper isolation and identification of the source of the problem. Examination of the electrical characteristics of the writing head electrode geometry indicates that, due to the very close spacing of the nibs 10, the intercoupling capacitance 20 therebetween is quite large, for example, on the order of 1 to 5 pf. This capacitance is sufficiently large and representative of an energy store near the point of electrode or nib discharge to provide additional energy on nib discharge. Since the capacitance is in line between nibs 10, the discharge geometry resulting on recording medium 18 will be materially effected and will have flares extending toward adjacent nibs 10. As a result, an irregular shaped writing spot will be formed in spite of the presence of limiting resistor 16.

This flaring can be substantially eliminated by employing an impedance, such as resistance 22, in nib 10, as illustrated in Figure 2, preferably either close to the writing end of the nib 10 or at the writing end of nib 10. Resistor 22 represents local impedance at or in proximity to the source of discharge and charge deposition so that the effect of stored energy in the form of intercoupling capacitance 20 between nibs is very small and, therefore, is effectively eliminated and, as a result, is effective in substantially eliminating conventional nib flare. Experiments have shown that the value of resistor 22 is chosen to be several megohms, typically between 50-1000 megohms, although this value may be even larger. This value, however, cannot be made too large as the discharge speed of adjacent nibs will be effected due to a large RC time constant between adjacent nibs. In other words, the time response of a nib will be effected by the RC time constant with neighboring nibs. Also, the interelectrode capacitance between nibs along the full length of the electrodes up to driving circuit 13 has been measured and found to be on the order of 0.1 pf.

In Figure 2, driving circuit 13 may comprise any circuitry known in the art for driving nibs 10 including the capacitor/resistor network in Figure 1. Such known circuits include thin film semiconductor drivers, resistor network, capacitor network, semiconductor integrated circuit, discrete nib drivers or commutator drivers.

The principal concept in reducing the formation of flare is to reduce the amount of energy stored at nibs 10 due to the existing intercoupling capacitance 20. This capacitance functions as a store of energy that provides the energy to increase the extent of flaring on discharge. By reducing this energy store, a large energy dump cannot occur, which would be productive of flaring.

Figures 3-5 relate to particular geometries for inclusion of resistance 22 in nib 24 or close to the end of nib 24. In each of these three enlarged figures, only the nibs 24 are shown exclusive of their lead lines as patterned on support 25, e.g. a fiberglass substrate. Nibs 24 may be, for example, about 1µm thick and comprised of a strip of Al on a very thin Cr layer for substrate adhesion. The Cr layer may be, for example, twenty times thinner than the A1 layer. Resistance 26 may be comprised of n+ amorphous silicon. Resistance 26 may also be an oxide of Al, Ni or Co. In Figure 3, resistance 26 in each nib 24 is positioned adjacent to the writing end 28. However, resistance 26 is proportionately very close to the end of each nib 24. In Figure 4, resistance 26 is positioned at the writing end of each of the nibs 24. In Figure 5, resistance 26 in each nib 24 is positioned adjacent to the nib writing end 28A, as in the case of Figure 3. However, in this embodiment, the nib writing ends 28A are thinner to further reduce the intercoupling capacitance at this point 20 between adjacent nibs 24. With the combination of nib resistance 26 and thin sheet writing nibs 28A, the intercoupling capacitance is substantially eliminated due to reduced cross sectional area of the nib at this point.

In the preferred embodiment, it has been found that the nib writing end 28 may be about 1 µm thick and about 0.43 mm long to provide a sufficiently long wear length. The range of thickness for nib 28 or 28A (or resistance nib 26 in the case of Figure 4) may be about 0.5 µm to 5 µm. In the Figure 5 embodiment, the thickness of nib writing end 28A may be, for example, 0.5 µm.

The lower limit of nib thickness is governed by catastrophic damage to the nib end due to disintegration upon application of a high voltage and subsequent discharge, unless it is possible to reduce the energy delivered to the nib and still obtain a suitable write discharge. However, there is a limit to how far the voltage can be reduced and still obtain a suitable write discharge. Further, a nib that is too thin will not have sufficient mechanical contact with the recording medium.

The upper limit of nib write end thickness is governed by a thickness that is too large providing too much capacitance and defeating the purposes sought after in this invention.

In summary, the intercoupling capacitance between writing nibs in an electrographic head can be effectively eliminated to significantly reduce nib flaring by placing resistance at the nib writing tip or adjacent to the nib writing tip. The effectiveness can be further enhanced by reducing the thickness of the nib writing end.

While the invention has been described in conjunction with a few specific embodiments, it is evident to those skilled in the art that many alternative, modifications and variations will be apparent in light of the foregoing description.


Anspruch[de]
  1. Elektrographischer Schreibkopf zum Bilden von diskreten, elektrostatischen Ladungen auf einem Aufzeichnungsmedium, das in einer Ebene relativ zu diesem Kopf bewegt wird, mit:

       einem Substrat (25),

       einer Mehrzahl von räumlich angeordneten Elektrodenlinien, die auf diesem Substrat gebildet sind, und

       einer Schreibfeder (24), die am Ende jeder der Elektrodenlinien gebildet ist und ihre Schreibspitze entlang einer Kante des Substrats liegend hat,

       gekennzeichnet durch eine Impedanz (26), die in jeder der Federn gebildet ist, um den Kopplungskapazitätseffekt zwischen benachbart angeordneten Federn zu reduzieren, um dadurch das Auftreten von Flackern beim Abscheiden von Ladung von den Schreibspitzen auf das Aufzeichnungsmedium zu verhindern.
  2. Elektrographischer Schreibkopf nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Impedanz (26) im Bereich von 50-1000 Megaohm liegt.
  3. Elektrographischer Schreibkopf nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, wobei die Impedanz (26) an der Schreibspitze der Feder ist.
  4. Elektrographischer Schreibkopf nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, wobei die Impedanz (26) neben der Schreibspitze (28 oder 28A) der Feder ist.
  5. Elektrographischer Schreibkopf nach Anspruch 4 wobei die Schreibspitze (28A) dünner ist als die benachbarte Impedanz (26).
  6. Elektrographischer Schreibkopf nach Anspruch 5 wobei die Schreibspitze (28A) ein Metallstreifen ist.
  7. Elektrographischer Schreibkopf nach einem der Ansprüche 4 bis 6 wobei die Schreibspitze (28A) 0,5 bis 5 µm dick ist.
  8. Elektrographischer Schreibkopf nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7, wobei die Impedanz n+ amorphes Silizium umfaßt.
Anspruch[en]
  1. An electrographic writing head for forming discrete electrostatic charges on a recording medium moved in a plane relative to said head comprising

       a substrate (25),

       a plurality of spatially disposed electrode lines formed on said substrate, and

       a writing nib (24) formed at the end of each of said electrode lines and having its writing tip lying along an edge of said substrate,

       characterised by an impedance (26) formed in each of said nibs to reduce the intercoupling capacitance effect between adjacently disposed nibs to thereby prevent flaring from occurring on the deposition of charge from said writing tips onto the recording medium.
  2. The electrographic writing head of claim 1 wherein said impedance (26) is in the range of 50-1000 megohms.
  3. The electrographic writing head of claim 1 or claim 2 wherein said impedance (26) is at the writing tip of said nib.
  4. The electrographic writing head of claim 1 or claim 2 wherein said impedance (26) is adjacent to the writing tip (28 or 28A) of said nib.
  5. The electrographic writing head of claim 4 wherein the writing tip (28A) is thinner than the adjacent impedance (26).
  6. The electrographic writing head of claim 5 wherein said writing tip (28A) is a metallic strip.
  7. The electrographic writing head of any one of claims 4 to 6 wherein said writing tip is 0.5 to 5 µm thick.
  8. The electrographic writing head of any one of claims 1 to 7 wherein said impedance comprises n+ amorphous silicon.
Anspruch[fr]
  1. Tête d'écriture électrographique pour former des charges électrostatiques discrètes sur un support d'enregistrement se déplaçant dans un plan par rapport à ladite tête, comprenant :
    • un substrat (25),
    • une multitude de lignes d'électrodes disposées spatialement, qui sont formées sur ledit substrat, et
    • un bec d'écriture (24) formé à l'extrémité de chacune desdites lignes d'électrodes et ayant sa pointe d'écriture se trouvant sur un bord dudit substrat,
       caractérisée par une impédance (26) formée dans chacun desdits becs pour réduire l'effet de la capacité d'inter-couplage entre des becs disposés de façon adjacente, de manière à éviter ainsi que ne se produisent des décharges non-uniformes lors du dépôt de la charge sur le support d'enregistrement à partir desdites pointes d'écriture.
  2. Tête d'écriture électrographique selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle ladite impédance (26) est comprise dans la gamme 50-1000 mégohms.
  3. Tête d'écriture électrographique selon la revendication 1 ou la revendication 2, dans laquelle ladite impédance (26) est située à la pointe d'écriture dudit bec.
  4. Tête d'écriture électrographique selon la revendication 1 ou la revendication 2, dans laquelle ladite impédance (26) est contiguë à la pointe d'écriture (28 ou 28A) dudit bec.
  5. Tête d'écriture électrographique selon la revendication 4, dans laquelle la pointe d'écriture (28A) est plus fine que l'impédance adjacente (26).
  6. Tête d'écriture électrographique selon la revendication 5, dans laquelle ladite pointe d'écriture (28A) est une bande métallique.
  7. Tête d'écriture électrographique selon l'une quelconque des revendications 4 à 6, dans laquelle ladite pointe d'écriture a une épaisseur de 0,5 à 5 µm.
  8. Tête d'écriture électrographique selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 7, dans laquelle ladite impédance comprend du silicium amorphe n+.






IPC
A Täglicher Lebensbedarf
B Arbeitsverfahren; Transportieren
C Chemie; Hüttenwesen
D Textilien; Papier
E Bauwesen; Erdbohren; Bergbau
F Maschinenbau; Beleuchtung; Heizung; Waffen; Sprengen
G Physik
H Elektrotechnik

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