Dye-Sublimation Printer

What Does Dye-Sublimation Printer Mean?

A dye-sublimation printer is a printer that works by heating
ink and then depositing it on a surface. The term arises from the misconception
that the ink goes from solid to gas without going through a liquid phase, or
sublimation. Dye-sublimation printers are used for printing photos and designs
on solid objects.

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Techopedia Explains Dye-Sublimation Printer

Dye-sublimation printers work by heating solid ink so that it can be deposited on a solid surface, such as plastic or ceramic. These printers are used for printing photos and ID cards, as well as for printing on things like coffee mugs and T-shirts.

Dye-sublimation printers use a special overcoating instead of black with the other standard ink colors, so dye-sublimation uses the CMYO (cyan, magenta, yellow, overcoating) system, though some printers do use black ink. The inks are deposited on the surface one color at a time. Dye-sublimation printers produce continuous tones compared with inkjet printers where the tones can vary with dithering. This makes reproducing photos on dye-sublimation printers much more accurate than with inkjet printers.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.