Printing method and apparatus

Printing method and apparatus
Patent Agent: Fleshner & Kim, LLP - Chantilly, VA, US
Patent Inventors: Howard John Manning, Benjamin Bruce Mitchell
Applicaton #: 20070034104
Class: 101486000 (USPTO)
Related Patents: Printing, Processes, Position Or Alignment, Of Print Means

A printing method and apparatus is disclosed wherein the printhead has a linear array of nozzles oriented in an axis, and drops of a liquid are printed at a particular location from first and second nozzles of the printhead at a first location. In an embodiment, the nozzles are arranged in groups, each group of nozzles being used to superpose spots of a particular liquid at a different location. A further method is described wherein the printhead is triggered by transferring printing triggers from a processing module to a printhead at print intervals representative of a plurality of fixed units of spatial displacement of the printhead. The present invention is particularly advantageous for the cycling of print nozzles, superposition of spots in linear arrays and fine control of spot positioning. The invention has particular application in the field of printing DNA microarrays.

0001] The present invention relates to the field of printing, and in particular to an improved method and apparatus for printing from a printhead with a linear array of nozzles.
[0002] Ink jet printheads can be used to position spots of liquids, for example biological samples, on substrates such as glass slides. An important application is the manufacture of DNA microarrays.
[0003] It is usually required to print one, two, three or more spots of each liquid onto each of a large number (tens to hundreds) of substrates. There is typically a very large number (hundreds to tens of thousands) of different liquids to be printed onto the substrates, so printing can be take an extremely long time.
[0004] It is normal practice to trigger the ejection of drops from an ink jet printhead by means of electronic pulses from an encoder that is linked to the relative motion of the printhead and substrate. When a pulse reaches the printhead, it prints from whichever nozzles are specified by the data in the printing image.
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