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IBM Journal of Research and Development  
Volume 29, Number 5, Page 449 (1985)
SELECTRIC Systems/2000
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Resistive ribbon thermal transfer printing: A historical review and introduction to a new printing technology

by K. S. Pennington, W. Crooks
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.
Related Subjects: Materials; Printing technology; Printing, thermal transfer; Typewriter design