High-speed color imaging by laser ablation transfer with a dynamic release layer: Fundamental mechanisms

William A. Tolbert, I. Yin Sandy Lee, Mark M. Doxtader, Ernest W. Ellis, Dana D. Dlott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Laser ablation transfer (LAT) is a novel method for high-speed production of high-resolution color images. Irradiating an LAT film with a nsec-duration optical pulse from a near-infrared laser induces high-speed dry mass transfer of a color coating from the film to a receiver sheet. Graphics Technology International has developed new LAT imaging films (Type II films), which are substantially improved over previous (Type I) films in the areas of color fidelity, color intensity, mechanical hardness, and ablation threshold reduction. The improvement is accomplished by adding a dynamic release layer (DRL) between the ablatable coating and the substrate. Detailed investigations of the dynamics of LAT with a DRL are presented. New experimental techniques developed to study this system include ultrafast time-resolved microscopy and time-resolved optical thermometry. Results are explained through a finite-element computer model of the temperature profile inside the film during the ablation pulse. Both experiment and theory show that a portion of the ablatable coating briefly attains almost 600 °C during the ablation process. Type II films have a lower laser ablation threshold because the DRL localizes most of the laser heating at the interface of the coating and the substrate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-421
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of imaging science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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