This paper describes a new high-quality thermal transfer printing process in which a printhead consisting of a linear array of small-diameter electrodes produces highly localized Joule heating of a resistive thermal transfer printing ribbon. The heat generated in the resistive ribbon results in the melting of a thermoplastic ink which is then transferred to a printable medium, such as paper, by contact. The origins of the technology in IBM are discussed, together with a description of the resistive ribbon materials and structure, the printhead, and some experimental printer performance values.
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