An Innovative New Organic Photoconductor (OPC)
An OPC is a photocarrier generation device, which generates electrical charge when exposed to light. OPCs form the core component of the xerographic process (Fig.1) used by printers and copiers to create images for hard-copy documents. (For detailed information, please see [Process 3 Printing].)
A general OPC (Fig. 2) is composed of an aluminum tube (substrate) and three layers: an undercoat layer (UCL), a charge generation layer (CGL), and a charge transfer layer (CTL). Fuji Xerox has successfully achieved a unique molecular design and in-house production of key materials to manufacture advanced OPC products.
As shown in Fig.1, photoconductors are subject to various stresses, including electrical stress, optical stress, and mechanical stress generated by interactions with other components. These stresses result in wear and deterioration of the photoconductor, reducing image quality and eventually requiring drum cartridge replacement.
Fuji Xerox has developed an innovative, highly durable OPC that minimizes environmental impact by significantly reducing replacement intervals and thus the number of drum cartridges used.
The life of an OPC is heavily influenced by the following three factors:
- Chemical degradation of UCL caused by electrical stress
- Deteriorated charge generation in the CGL caused by optical stress
- CTL wear caused by mechanical stress.
To improve OPC life, new key materials have been introduced into each layer of the new OPC:
- Adding n-type semiconductor nanoparticles and electron acceptors enhances chemical durability against electrical stress.
- Dispersing highly photosensitive phthalocyanine pigments at the submicron level improves resistance to optical stress.
- Dispersing a lubricant composed of fluorochemical particles at the submicron level reduces mechanical stress and enhances antiwear performance.
By introducing these new materials, Fuji Xerox has achieved an OPC with service life three times that of our conventional products or longer, dramatically reducing the numbers of drum cartridges used.
Additionally, this OPC can be used in printers across a wide spectrum of duty requirements, from small, low-volume printers to super-high volume products capable of 100 ppm or more. This means it can be produced more efficiently, reducing carbon dioxide emissions at manufacturing plants.