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Cambridge develops toner-removing laser

March 15, 2012

Ramifications of hand-held laser may lead to 95 percent reduction in paper production emissions, predicts accompanying study.

Scientists from the University of Cambridge has devised a hand-held laser device capable of removing printer toner from documents to allow reuse of the paper without causing “significant damage”, reports Tech Radar.

Produced in conjunction with the Bavarian Laser Centre, the team tested 10 laser setups of varying strength and duration to determine the most effective result. The paper was subsequently analysed for signs of damage and remaining toner.

The accompanying study states that re-use rather than recycling of paper would save an additional 20 percent in emissions. The environmental benefits that result in skipping the production of paper would also result in a 95 percent reduction of emissions per tons of paper production.

Dr Julian Allwood, Head of Low Carbon Materials Processing Group, University of Cambridge, commented: “What we need to do now is find someone to build a prototype. Thanks to hand-held scanners and laserjet printers, the feasibility of reusing paper in the office is there.”

Toshiba has also recently announced the development of a toner that can be removed for use, known as “FriXion Ball”, which can be applied and removed from paper up to 10 times. The new ink and printer is set for release in late 2012.

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