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High resolution print technique makes images at 100,000 dots per inch, near optical diffraction limit

New technology could be used for data storage disks, optical filters, high resolution watermarks, and even secret messages

3d printer customized drugsEnlarge
Researchers at the University of Glasgow suggested in a paper published on April 15, 2012, that 3D printers could be used in the future to create customized drugs making healthcare access more efficient and affordable. (PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Think your printer is high-resolution? It's got nothing on a newly developed color printing technique, that produces the highest resolution images yet known - about 100,000 dots per inch, reports Nature.com. 

The remarkable new printing technique, beyond being incredibly cool, could be used for a variety of real-world applications, says Nature Nanotechnology, including printing high resolution watermarks, producing high-density data storage disks, optical filters, and even secret messages. 

So what determines the limits of print resolution, anyway? According to the study authors, the highest possible resolution for a printed image in color is "determined by the diffraction limit of visible light." 

Read more from GlobalPost: Researchers use 3-D printer to create new "magic arms" for disabled toddler 

Up until now, it's been hard for scientists to produce images at a massive 100,000 dots per inch resolution has been limited by "insufficient resolution" and "limited scalability" - but the scientist's non-colorant method has archived resolutions that brush the possible optical diffraction limit. 

Scientists encoded color information in metal nanostructures to achieve the remarkable resolution, according to the study.

According to Nature.com, the resolution for standard inkjet and laser printers, as opposed to the new technique, can reach only 10,000 dots per inch - a far cry from 100,000. 

If printed out, said Teri Odom, a Northwestern University chemist, to Nature, "they would look higher than high definition" - although she also pointed out that human vision would find it hard to fully perceive the difference. 

The study, "Printing colour at the optical diffraction limit," was printed in full in Nature Nanotechnology today, and is well worth a read for the tech-inclined. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/120812/high-resolution-print-technique-makes-images-at-100000-dots-inch-near-o