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Graduate Research

Reem A. El Asaleh, New Media ICC Profile Construction and Concerns
Advisor: Dr. Dan Fleming

Description: With the advent of the modern digital technology, users can now capture an image and reproduce it between different media, such as display it on LCD monitor or tablet computer, print it on desktop printer or send it to a printing press. The challenge has been then to maintain the accuracy of image colors during this reproduction, which has led to the development of Color Management Systems. Using these systems, the color reproduction across-media will be accomplished using device ICC profiles that describe each device's color characterization data in a standardized format based on International Color Consortium (ICC) specifications.

ICC profiles use a multidimensional Lookup Table (LUT) to map the device independent space to the device colorant space. This LUT is constructed based on an estimated characterization device model (using data fitting functions and a set of measurement data) to speed the transformation performance. The attempts of this research are to study all the factors that affect the accuracy of different device characterization models and to reveal some important fundamentals that influence the accuracy of constructing an equivalent device profile. Different digital devices were employed: a scanner, two different LCD monitors and an RGB printer. A plausible model for each device was provided, which also was used to smooth the measurement noise. An equivalent LUT was constructed based on that model and stored inside an equivalent ICC profile for each device using a customized C++ program and an open source library. Different evaluation tests were employed and some promising results were achieved.

Veronika Husovska, Elimination of Pressure Sensitive Label And Deinkability Of Water Based Flexographic and Nip Inks in One Recycling Step
Advisor: Dr. Dan Fleming

Description: Both printers and papermakers are trying to be "green", and thus the recycling of post consumer waste is becoming a must. Due to environmental concerns, progressively more water-based ink is used in conventional and NIP technologies. Recycling of water-based inks is challenging due to small pigment particle size often submicron in size. Traditional deinking eliminates significantly larger particles. Therefore novel water-based inks for flexography and inkjet pose a huge issue to recycling facilities. This experimental work will focus on recycling of stickies and deinking of water-based prints. The chemistry of conventional and NIP water-based ink is very comparable. While pigment sizes are different, resin chemistries are alike. Pressure sensitive adhesives are in general acrylic based. Water-based inks are based on the same chemistry. Therefore there is a hope that pulping conditions will have impact on adhesive as well as on water-based inks. This experimental work will deal with removal of macro contaminants first. Secondly, deinking will be performed. Due to complexity of the recycling, two –loop recycling might be implemented. First loop will focus on the macro-contaminants removal while second loop will be tailored for ink particles removal. It is believed that due to similar chemistry of pressure sensitive adhesive and water-based ink, pulping conditions of the first loop can positively impact the ink removal. High pulping temperatures cause fracture of the pressure sensitive adhesive and it creates numerous small sized stickies in the recycling process. Therefore pulping temperatures will be studied and their impact on stickies removal and deinking will be monitored. In addition to pulping temperatures, the chemicals used during pulping negatively affect the particle size of the adhesive as well. Pulping pH will therefore be shifted into the low pH regions. In the acidic regions, carboxylic acid groups are pronotaned, which is causing the agglomeration of the binder and respectively growth of adhesive particle size. This should be desirable for screening and stickies separation. In theory, similar mechanism will occur within water-based inks.

In this experimental work deinking will be performed via flotation. The flotation process is based on collision of air bubbles and ink particles. Particle size for successful flotation processes has to be in the range of 10-250 microns. Model system will be used to monitor and optimize the flotation. In the model system, only inks will be treated under flotation deinking conditions. It is expected that inks will precipitate under acidic conditions and solubilize at alkaline conditions, as it happens with water-based inks. At first, solely model inks will be tested in flotation deinking experiments, with variable pH, mixing speed and temperature. A changing particle size of inks due to flotation conditions will be monitored. If optimum precipitation conditions for inks will be found, then these will be further tested in real fibrous system, using printed paper substrates in flotation deinking experiments. In addition to standardized INGEDE type flotation, proposed flotation process will be carried out also in acidic region. This is proposed in the anticipation of leaving acrylics, maleics and copolymer chemistries in free acid stage, in which they are insoluble in water, thus more suitable for flotation. To overcome the small particle size of digital inks and water based flexo inks, agglomeration prior to flotation will be carried out. Agglomeration will employ selected surfactants to create particles above 25 micron in size. Alternative methods will be used to polarize acrylic resins and employ direct electric current for their separation in a modified electrophoresis process.

Sooman Lim, Inkjetability of an Ambient Stable Organic Semiconductor
Advisor: Dr. Margaret Joyce

Description: Although the field-effect properties of organic materials have been known for some time, advancements in organic semiconducting materials suitable for organic thin film transistors have only been realized over the last two decades. Though the performance of these materials meet the requirements for OTFTs, their high mobility characteristics are mostly obtained through vacuum-deposition or processing under inert atmospheric and processing conditions that enable sufficient time to achieve the proper structural ordering. In comparison, the performance of air stable, solution processable materials are poorer because of their sensitivity to atmospheric oxygen and water. One solution processable material that provides good performance in any inert atmosphere is Poly-3(hexylthiophene), P3HT. However, its mobility is significantly lower when applied under ambient conditions. Hence, a need exists for an ambient stable semiconductive material, if fully printed OFTFs are to ever be realized. The focus of this research will be to study the inkjet printability of a proprietary ambient stable semi-conducting ink on PET. The printability and electrical performance will be compared with P3HT.

 
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