PatentDe  


Dokumentenidentifikation EP1057653 11.01.2001
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 1057653
Titel Erzeugungsverfahren zur Farbänderung
Anmelder I.P.T. - Impression Printing Technologies B.V., Delft, NL
Erfinder Zilberstein, Gleb, Rehovot, IL
Vertreter `a a a Va a a ba a
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, CH, CY, DE, DK, ES, FI, FR, GB, GR, IE, IT, LI, LU, MC, NL, PT, SE
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 04.06.1999
EP-Aktenzeichen 998701122
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 06.12.2000
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 11.01.2001
IPC-Hauptklasse B41M 5/20

Beschreibung[en]
Field of the invention

The present invention relates to a method of producing a color change in a medium.

Technological background

Known methods for producing color changes in a medium include chemical techniques, such as techniques using pH indicators and red-ox indicators; thermal techniques, such as techniques using heat-sensitive paper; photographic techniques, such as color photography; electro-optical techniques, such as techniques using light-polarizing liquid crystals; electron beam techniques, such as color TV; and gas plasma techniques such as used in flat panel displays.

The majority of conventional applications of the chemical techniques, for example utilizing organic dyes, such as pH indicators, involve equilibrium conditions and relatively long color changing durations. This is because the change in pH is performed mechanically through the addition of an acid or base to the initial solution containing the indicator.

The color of the medium may be altered rapidly by applying a voltage of a particular magnitude and polarity to the medium.

State of the art

US patents 3,402,109 to Berman, 3,769,629 to Sambucetti and 3,952,314 to Maltz describe a color change produced by passing a current through a medium comprising an electrolyte and either a pH indicator or a red-ox system. Use of mediums such as these is not practical, for example, when the medium is meant to come in contact with a buffer, such as paper.

Aims of the invention

The present invention provides an electrochemical technique for producing color changes in a medium. The color of the medium is altered by applying a voltage of a particular magnitude and polarity to the medium, thereby rapidly achieving the color change. The color change produced according to the present invention is not sensitive to a buffering environment.

It will be appreciated that the term "color", in the present invention, relates to colorless (transparent in the visible light range) as well color.

It is thus provided according to an embodiment of the invention, a method of producing a color change in a medium comprising the steps of:

  • a) providing the medium with at least one first substance, having a first color, the first substance being a metal or an electrolyte

    and

    at least one second substance, having a second color, the second substance being a metalloindicator that is not a red-ox system when the first substance is a metal, and an electrochemical reactive pigment or a bleachable dye when the first substance is an electrolyte.

    The first substance is capable of producing at least one active agent (such as H+, OH-, Men+ or a bleaching agent), having a third color, and the second substance is capable of reacting with the active agent resulting in a compound,

    which compound has a fourth color that is different from the first, second and third colors.

  • b) applying at least one electric voltage to the medium.

It is further an object of the present invention to provide a method of producing a color change in a medium, comprising the steps of:

  • a) providing the medium with a polymerizing agent, such as a polyacrylamid or a polysacharide, at least one electrolyte and at least one organic dye,

    and
  • b) applying at least one electric voltage to said medium.

The electrolyte has a first color and is capable of producing at least one active agent having a second color and the organic dye, having a third color, is capable of reacting with the active agent resulting in a compound having a fourth color that is different from the first, second and third colors.

At least two of the first, second and third colors may be the same or different.

Applying electric voltage comprises:

  • a) providing the medium with at least two electrodes, that are in electric communication with the medium and with a power supply; and activating said power supply. A first one of the electrodes may be supplied with a first potential to provide a first color and a second one of the electrodes may be supplied with a second potential to provide a second color.
  • b) Controlling the quantity of charge passed to the mixture may serve to control the color intensity of the mixture.

The present invention also provides a use of a medium for producing a color change by applying an electric voltage to said medium. The medium comprising at least one first substance, having a first color, said first substance being metal or an electrolyte and at least one second substance, having a second color, the second substance being a metalloindicator that is not a red-ox system when the first substance is a metal, and an electrochemical reactive pigment or a bleachable dye when the first substance is an electrolyte, the first substance being capable of producing at least one active agent, having a third color, and the second substance capable of reacting with the active agent resulting in a compound, having a fourth color.

The present invention further provides a use of a medium comprising a polymerizing agent, at least one electrolyte and at least one organic dye, for producing a color change by applying an electric voltage to said medium.

Short description of the drawings

  • Fig. 1 schematically illustrates the method for producing a color change in a medium in accordance with the present invention;
  • Figs. 2A, 2B and 2C schematically illustrate three embodiments of the method according to the present invention;
  • Fig. 3 illustrates several spectra of a magenta-colored dye made in accordance with the present invention.

Detailed description of the invention

Fig. 1 is a block diagram of the method according to the present invention. In the step referenced 100, a medium is provided with a solution of electrochemically sensitive substances A and B. In the step referenced 200 an electric voltage (eV) is applied to the medium containing substances A and B. Phases 110, 120 and 130 describe the reactions taking place in the medium after applying an electric voltage.

In phase 110 substance B reacts to the electric voltage by producing an active agent X. Substance A, that may or may not react to the electric voltage by producing an active agent, reacts with the active agent X, in phase 120, resulting in compound C (phase 130).

A, B and X may be colorless (in the visible light range) or may have the same or different colors, while C (which may be colorless or not) has a different color from A, B and X.

The reactions taking place in the medium after applying an electric voltage may be reversible or irreversible. Reversible reactions take place in homogenous mediums. The reversibility criteria in thermodynamic processes is the equilibrium constant value of forward and reverse reactions (Keq). Electrolysis, however, is not a thermodynamic process but a kinetic process and therefore the reversibility criteria are: a) is the reaction homogenous, i.e do the reaction products precipitate or transform to gas, b) is the solidification time of the reaction mixture or the time of absorption on a surface more than the reverse reaction.

The method will be further described and examples of A, B, X and C will be supplied with reference to Figs. 2A, B and C.

Three embodiments of the present invention provide three alternative ways of producing a color change in a medium according to the present invention. These embodiments are illustrated in Figs. 2A-C.

Fig. 2A illustrates an electrochemical cell 20 that includes a medium 16 containing a mixture of electrochemically sensitive substances, in solution. In accordance with the invention, the color of the cell 20 may be changed by applying an electric potential to the medium 16 in the cell. The electrochemically sensitive substances comprise substances that are capable of producing an active agent, upon being exposed to an electric voltage, and substances that are capable of reacting with the active agent to form a compound having a color that may be different from the colors of the other substances. This reaction that occurs in the medium results in a change of color.

A power supply 22 generates an electric potential that is applied between several electrodes 24. More than two electrodes may be used in some applications. The electric potential between the electrodes causes a current flow through the electrochemically sensitive medium 16 when the electrodes 24 are in contact with (or sufficiently close to) the medium 16. The current flow, in turn, causes a color change in the medium 16.

The medium 16 comprises electrochemically sensitive substances, optionally in a solution of water, alcohol or a combination thereof. A variety of substances may be used in the electrochemically sensitive medium.

Liquid solutions of organic dyes and polymerizing agents

Solutions of organic dyes comprise one or more pH indicator or red-ox indicator.

As is well known, various organic dyes change their color in relation to the pH of a chemical solution, or to the relative concentrations of oxidized and reduced forms of specific ions present in the solution. The dye types are called indicators and are divided into two large classes: acid-base (pH) indicators, and reduction-oxidation (red-ox) indicators. Acid-base (pH) indicators are usually organic compounds that operate in weak acids or bases. The reaction of ionic disassociation or association of the indicators is accompanied by an internal structural regrouping, leading to changes of color.

It is also well known that the application of a voltage to electrodes in an electrolyte mixture leads to the formation of an area enriched by anions around the anode and by cations around the cathode. In water or alcohol/water solutions the anions are OH- and the cations H+. Thus, the space near the electrodes can create an area with excess acid (at the cathode) and base (at the anode).

For example Fig. 2B schematically illustrates such an electrolytic control of an organic dye solution. Solution 38 is a mixture of an indicator, an electrolyte, and a polymerizing agent. When a voltage is applied to electrodes 30 (cathode) and 32 (anode), colored areas 34 and 36 may appear in the space around the electrodes 30 and 32. The concentration of the developed dye will be proportional to the H+ and OH- concentration at the electrodes 30 and 32, respectively. The quantity of colored molecules, or chromophores, can be relatively easily controlled since the quantity of chromophores formed by electrolysis obeys Faraday's Law.

The organic dye may be selected so as to be reactive with the anions (OH-) to produce the color change, or to be reactive with the cations (H+ or Men+) to produce the color change.

In practice, the diffusion of the color-forming ions (H+, OH- and Men+) limits the speed of formation. Capacitance does not appear to be a limiting factor for current switching speeds. A secondary layer of ions forms at the electrode surface microseconds after the application of a voltage. However, the thickness of this secondary layer is several nanometers, and its contribution to the absorption of light (and thus to the tint) is negligible. The fundamental contribution to light absorption is made within the diffusion layer, the thickness of which can, for example, exceed several millimeters. Therefore to increase the switching speed it is necessary to choose indicators and solutions that maximize the ionic mobility. Experiments have already demonstrated a switching time of 2 ms for water and alcohol solutions of organic dyes.

The liquid solutions of organic dyes are supplemented with polymerizing agents such as polyacrylamids or polysacharides which rapidly polymerize when being exposed to air, or which polymerize when being subject to an electric field. The medium thus rapidly polymerizes rendering the medium insensitive to further pH or red-ox situation changes.

A variety of indicators may be used in practicing the invention.

Several examples of pH indicators are listed in TABLE 1. TABLE 2 lists pH indicators that may be used with non-aqueous solvents.

Additional information about these indicators may be found in the reference: The Sigma-Aldrich Handbook of Stains, Dyes & Indicators, by Floyd Green, Aldrich Chemical Co, Inc., 1991. Alizarin Red 2,4-Dinitrophenol 3-Nitrophenol Alizarin Yellow 2,5-Dinitrophenol 4-Nitrophenol Alkali Blue Eosin B 2,2',2",4,4'-Pentamethoxytriphenylcarbinol Brilliant Green Eosin G Phenolphthalein Bromochlorophenol Blue Epsilon Blue Phenolphthalein Solution 1% Bromocresol Green Erythrosine B Phenolphthalein Solution 0.375% Bromocresol Purple Hematoxylin monosaturate Phenol Red Bromophenol Blue Indigo Carmine Phenol Red Sodium Salt Soluble in Water Bromophenol Blue Sodium Salt Soluble in Water Litmus pH Indicator Solution pH Universal Indicator 4-10 Bromophenol Red Methyl Green pH Indicator Solution pH 0.5 Bromothymol Blue Methyl Orange pH Indicator Solution Aquamerck® pH Indicator Liquid Bromothymol Blue Sodium Salt Soluble in Water Methyl Orange Solution PH Indicator Strips Non-bleeding Universal Indicator pH 0-14 Universal Indicator Bromoxylenol Blue Methyl Red Picric Acid Chlorophenol Red Methyl Red Sodium Salt Quinaldine Red Congo Red Methyl Violet Thymol Blue Cresol Red Mixed Indicator 4.5 Thymol Blue Sodium Salt Soluble in Water Crystal Violet Mixed Indicator 5 Thymolphthalein m-Cresol Purple 1-Naphtholphthalein Titan Yellow 4-(Dimethylamino)-azebenzene Neutral Red p-Xylenol Blue
Alkali Blue 4-(Dimethylamino)-azebenzene 2-Nitroaniline Bromocresol Green Epsilon Blue Oracet Blue 2R Bromocresol Purple Methyl Orange Phenolphthalein Bromophenol Blue Methyl Red Phenol Red Bromothymol Blue Methyl Violet Quinaldine Red Cresol Red 1-Naphtholphthalein Thymol Blue Crystal Violet Nile Blue (hydrogen sulphate)

TABLE 3 lists several examples of red-ox indicators. Amino Black Diphenylamine-4-Sulfonic Acid Barium Salt Neutral Red 2,2'-Bipyridine Diphenylamine-4-Sulfonic Acid Sodium Salt Red-ox Indicator Nile Blue (Hydrogen Sulfate) Brilliant Cresyl Blue Zinc Chloride Double Salt N,N'-Diphenylbenzidine 1,10-Phenanthroline 2,S-Dichlorophenol-indophenol Sodium Salt Dihydrate Ferrion Indicator Solution 1,10-Phenanthroline Chloride Monohydrate 3,3'-Dimethyl-inaphthidine 1/40 M Ferroin Solution N-Phenylanthranalic Acid N,N-Dimethyl-1,4-Phenylenediammoniu m Dichloride Indigo Carmine Safranine Diphenylamine Methylene Blue Thionine (Acetate)

A variety of other indicators may be used in practicing the teaching of the invention TABLE 4 lists several examples of fluorescence indicators. Acridine Eosin G 1,2-Phenylenediamine Acridine Orange Erythrosine B 1,4-Phenylenediamine 4-Aminonaphthalene-1 Sulfonic Acid Sodium Salt Fluorescein Sodium Quinaldine Red 2-Anthranillic Acid 2-Hydroxycinnamic Acid (-)-Quinine Auramine Quinoline Azure II 7-Hydroxycoumarin Rhodamine B Chromotropic Acid Disodium Salt Dihydrate Morin Dihydrate Salicylic Acid Coumarin 1-Naphthoic Acid Titan Yellow 2',7'-Dichlorofluorescein 1-Naphthylamine

For example, TABLE 5 lists some of the known pH indicators and their colors under acid and basic conditions, respectively. The principles of pH color control are discussed in more detail below. NAME ACIDIC COLOR BASIC COLOR alizaric yellow clear violet thymolphthalein clear blue phenolphthalein clear red cresol red red yellow phenol red yellow red bromothymol red yellow blue methyl red red yellow bromocresol green yellow blue

A combination of pH indicators may be used. The indicators are preferably transparent in the visible light range in one state, either acid or base, and their absorbency spectrum should be chosen so that their combined spectra result in the desired tint.

One example of a combination is thymophthalein, phenolphthalein and collagen. Thymolphthalein is transparent and colorless in an acid and appears blue in a base. Phenolphthalein is transparent and colorless in acid and appears red - purple in a base. When combined, these two indicators form a color that appears a dark purple in a base. The dye based medium has been shown to absorb approximately 99% of visible light in a 100 pm thick cell.

In one embodiment, medium 38 contains rhodamin 6G (which is a non - standard orange-yellow indicator), brilliant green indicator, thymolphthalein in a solution of NaCl, agarose, alcohol and water. Applying an electric the voltages -5V, 0V and +5V produces an acidic, neutral and basic mdedium, correspondingly, resulting in colors yellow, green and violet respectively.

In another embodiment, medium 38 contains xylenol and standard blue green dyes in a solution of NaCl, Na2SO4 and water. Applying the electric voltages +3V, 0V and -3V provides acidic, neutral and basic mediums correspondingly, resulting in yellow, red and blue dye colors.

In a third embodiment red-ox indicators are used. A mixture of methyl orange, brilliant green, thimolphatalein and polyvinylchloride in an alcohol solution in the ratio of approximately 1:2:7:10, respectively, may be used. The color of this composition is green at a potential of 0 volts (0V), violet at +5V, and red at -5V.

In yet a further embodiment of the invention fluorescent indicators are used. Fluorescein at a potential of 0V (pH=7) is yellow, while a mixture of Fluorescein and polyacrylamide at a potential of -3V (pH=4) is green.

4-Etoksiakrydon at a potential of 0V (pH=7) is yellow, while a mixture of 4-Etoksiakrydon and polyacrylamide at a potential of -5V (pH=1.5) is blue.

Metalloindicators that are not a red-ox system

Metalloindicators that are not a red-ox system react selectively with metal ions. Thus, the mixture of metalloindicators that are not a red-ox system and the types of electrodes may be selected in a manner that produces the desired color scheme. Given a suitable mettaloindicator solution, the interaction of the solution with a potential applied to one of the electrodes results in an electrochemical reaction where the metal goes to an ionic state and reacts with the metalloindicator. This reaction forms colored complex compounds. To change the color of the solution, the potential is applied to a different electrode. A change of color may be obtained also by applying a different potential to the same electrode.

A variety of metal electrodes may be used in practicing the invention. Several examples of metal electrodes are listed in TABLE 6. The voltage applied to an electrode must be more than the electrochemical breakdown voltage for each metal. For noble metals (e.g., Mg, Fe, Co, Ni, Pb, Be, Sn and Sb) the breakdown potential is approximately 2 volts. Antimony Gold Nickel Silver Beryllium Iron Palladium Tin Calcium Lead Platinum Cobalt Magnesium Ruthenium

Several examples of metalloindicators are listed in TABLE 7. Additional information about the metalloindicators may be found in the Sigma-Aldrich reference mentioned above. Alizarin-3-Methylamine-N,N-Diacetic Acid Dihydrate Eriochrome Black T 1-(2-Pyridylazo)-2-Naphthol Alizarin Red Eriochrome Blue SE 4-(2-Pryidylazo) Resorcinol Monosodium Salt Monohydrate Aurin Tricarboxylic Acid Ammonium Salt Eriochrome Blue-Black B 3,5-Pyrocatechol-disulfonic Acid Disodium Salt Monohydrate Bromopyrogalloi Red Eriochrome Cyanine R Pyrocatechol Violet Calcein Hermatoxylin Monohydrate Pyrogallol Red Calcon Hydroxynaphthol Blue Rhodizonic Acid Disodium Salt Calconcarboxylic Acid Sulfonazo III Carminic Acid Magnesium Titriplex® Dihydrate 5-Sulfosalicylic Acid Dihydrate Chromazurol S Methylthymol Blue Sodium Salt Thorin Octahydrate 3,3'-Dimethyl-naphthidine Murexide Thymolphthalexone 1,5-Diphenylcarbazide Naphthol Green B Xylenol Orange Tetrasodium Salt 1,5-Diphenylcarbazone Nitroso R Salt Zincon Dithizone Phthalein Purple

In addition, TABLE 8 lists several combinations of metalloindicator compounds, that are not red-ox systems and electrode compositions (i.e., the metal or metals) and the resulting color, for example for electrodes of lmm x lmm in a potential range of -10V to +10V. COMPOUND ELECTRODE COLOR Dimethylglyoxim Ni Red SCN- Fe Red Glucose Cu Blue NH2-, S-, COO- group, SiO32- ions or thiourea Co Blue Phtalocyanine, phtalic acid, phtalic anhydride or chlorophyll Cu Blue Crown-ethers Mg or Ca Red or Orange Thyocyanate or SCN- ion Fe Red Proteins Cu or Co Blue Proteins Pt or Pd White Proteins Au Red Proteins Ag Black Proteins Fe Brown Proteins Ni Green Proteins Pb Orange Acetylacetone Al Orange Proteins V Blue-Green

The proteins listed in Table 8 may include, for example, compounds of the following families: albumin, -proteins, collagen. Agar-agar may also be used.

For example, in one embodiment, the medium 20 (see Fig 2A) contains an electrolyte Na2S (that reacts to the electric voltage by producing S-2) and a combination of metalloindicators, such as safranine and izon-ammonium citrate. Electrodes 24 may be silver, iron or lead. Applying an electric voltage of between -10V to 10V to the medium, through electrodes 24, produces colors red, orange and violet respectively.

In another embodiment S-2 reacts with Fe obtaining a black color. Further reactions are:

Bleachable dyes

In one embodiment of the invention the medium is modified to possess different stability depending on oxidation. For example, the color of the medium may be controlled by providing an electrochemical dosage of chlorine. The chlorine is produced by electrolysis of NaCl in water according to the reaction (in partial form): NaCl+H2O => NaClO+OH- => NaOH +Cl2.

In one embodiment, the bleaching technique is used to selectively bleach several colors from a medium that is made from a combination of color components (bleachable dye). For example, a black dye may include cyan, magenta and yellow components. By electrochemical action, selective colors (e.g., cyan) can be bleached (the bleaching agents being released by the electrolysis process) to change the color of the dye (e.g., to orange).

For example, one embodiment of a bleachable dye includes a 1:1:1 ratio of new fuchsin (a magenta component), palatine fast yellow (a yellow component) and copper phtalocyanine (a cyan component) mixed in water at a 3% concentration. The dye also includes an electrolyte of NaCI (bleaching agent Cl2) at a 3% concentration in water.

The color of the dye depends on the applied electric potential. With no potential applied, the dye is substantially black. At 5V the dye is a shade of orange. At 8V the dye is a shade of blue. At 10V the dye is a shade of violet. At 20V the dye is a shade of white.

Various combinations of bleaching agents and dye compounds may be use in practicing this embodiment of the invention. Several examples of bleaching agents and dye compounds are set forth in TABLES 9 and 10, respectively. NaCl KCl Na2SO4 K2SO4 K2CrO4 K2Cr2O7
Acid Violet 7 Acridine Orange Methyl Violet B Base Brilliant Blue G Acridine Yellow G Oil Blue N Congo Red Crystal Violet Oil Red 0 Metanil Yellow Malachite Green 4-Phenylazophenol Oxalate Methyl Orange Menthylene Blue Solvent Green 3 Naphthol Green B Safrinine 0 Sudan Orange G

It should be appreciate by those skilled in the art that the medium may be, in a gaseous, liquid, gelled or frozen state.

For example, medium 16 (see Fig. 2A) may comprise a white mixture of the vapor of phenolphthalein, NH3 and H2O in a gaseous state. Applying a voltage (-3V - +5V) to this mixture results in a red color.

Fig. 2C is a schematic illustration of the method of the present invention utilizing a solid medium containing electrochemically sensitive substances. In the embodiment described in Fig. 2C, an active matrix 40 is overlaid by a layer of solid state electrolyte material 42 which is covered by an ionic conductive membrane 44. Upon application of a voltage from a power supply 46, current passing through the membrane 44 causes a change of color.

For example, the active matrix 40 may be made of Fe, the layer of solid state electrolyte material 42 may be SCN and the ionic conductive membrane 44 may be gelatin mixed with KCl. 10 grams of KCl are used for every 100 grams of gelatin. Application of an electric voltage produces Fe+2 ions that react with the SCN- to obtain the compound Fe(SCN)2. The color of this compound depends on the potential applied. A potential of -10V results in bleaching, 1V results in a red color, 2V in a blue color and 3V in a yellow color.

Further examples of active matrices are Pd and Pt.

Further examples of solid state electrolytes are WO3 (solid state and electrolyte with H+ conductivity) in which the ions and electron are mobile, in AgCl the cation and anion are mobile, in Prussian Blue the ion is mobile, in phosphate and borate glasses the H+ is mobile, in metal complexes of phtalocyanines the metal ions are mobile.

The color produced within the electrochemical cells discussed above depends on several factors including, for example, the composition of the electrochemically sensitive material, the composition of the electrodes, and the magnitude and polarity of the applied electric potential. These aspects of the invention will now be treated in more detail.

In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, the electrochemically sensitive material may consist of a variety of electrochemically sensitive compounds combined with a buffer electrolyte (having a relatively high conductivity) in a solution of water, alcohol, or water and alcohol. As discussed above, these compounds may include red-ox indicators, pH indicators, metalloindicators that are not red-ox systems, electrochemical dye bleaching agents (e.g., chlorine), electrochemical reactive pigments or a combination of these components.

In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, a wide variety of colors may be produced using a mixture of dyes which are voltage-sensitive to produce the different colors. Thus, the desired color can be obtained from the mixture of dyes by merely selecting the appropriate voltage. The following TABLE 11 sets forth a number of dye mixtures having different colors that may be produced by selecting the appropriate voltage: MEDIUM COMPONENTS COLORS ON THE ELECTRODES Brilliant Green + Methyl Orange + Thymolphtalein + polyacrylamide + Na2SO4+C2H5OH+H2O Green (0V), Red (+5V), Blue (-5V) Congo + Phenolphtalein + (NH4)2SO4 +C2H5OH+H2O Magenta (0V), Blue (+3V), Violet (+6V), Black (+10V) Methyl Red + Thymolphtalein + polyacrylamide + C2H5OH + Na2SO4 + H2O Red (+3V), Orange (0V), Yellow (-0.5V), Blue (-5V) Cresol Red + Alizaric Yellow + Thymolphtalein + polyacrylamide + Na2CO3 + C2H5OH + H2O Red (+5V), Yellow (+1V), Violet (0V) Ferroin + Thiomin + H2O + C2H5OH + Na2SO4 Red (-0.3V), Blue (-0.2V), Violet (-0.1V), Black (5V) Amido Black 10B + Methylene Blue + Neutral Red + NaCl + C2H5OH + H2O Black (-1.06V), Blue (-0.06V), Red (+0.76V), Yellow (+0.9V) Dimethylglyoxime + K2[Fe(CN)4] + Methyl Orange Red (3.2V), Blue (4v), Yellow (4.5V), Black (10V)

It will thus be seen that a wide variety of colors can be produced by merely selecting the combination of liquid dyes to be included in the mixture.

In another embodiment of the invention, a latent image can be produced. Initially, an electrochemically sensitive dye comprising a first substance, such as the transition metals and the compounds and ions listed in TABLE 12, is subjected to an electric voltage to generate a transparent active agent. The active agent is used to generate a latent image. The latent image is then developed by treating it with a second substance (developer), such as the metalloindicators, pH indicators or red-ox indicators listed above. The reaction between the transparent active agent and the second substance (development) results in a change of color, thereby making the latent image visible.

For example, a first substance for latent imaging can include Ni and Fe electrodes and a KCI (2% concentration) water solution. The second substance (developer) is K2[Fe(CN)6] (1% concentration) and dimethylglyoxime (0.5% concentration) in water. A latent image can be produced using 0V (zero) on both electrodes and with the addition of the developer a yellow image will become visible. Applying 2V to the Fe electrode will produce a latent image and a violet image after development. 3V applied to the Ni electrode will produce a latent image and a red dye upon development.

In another embodiment the first substance for a latent imaging process includes a Pt electrode (which give off H+ ions) and an Na2SO4 (3% concentration) water solution. The developing solution consists of a 1:1 alcohol-water solution with the following components (concentrations listed in parenthesis): 4- Dimethylamino-2-methylazobenzene (1.5%), bromthymol blue (2%), methyl red (0.5%), phenolphtalein (2%) and thymolphtalein (2%).

The applied potential to color shade relationships are as follows: 0V on the electrode will produce yellow after development. 1V will produce orange after development. 5V will produce red after development. -1V will produce green after development. -10V will produce violet after development. -20V will produce black after development. KBr K2SO4 NaCl Na+ KCl NaBr NaClO4 OH- Cl- Br- F- K+ Ca2+ N(Aryl)4+ S2- NH4+ Na2SO4

In another embodiment of the invention, the system uses pigments in an electrochemical color printing process. These pigments may be inorganic or organic. For the inorganic pigment printing process, printing material is impregnated with an inorganic salt solution that is selected according to the desired pigment color. The solution is then subjected to electrolysis using an electrode (made of a material selected to work with the selected salt solution) to produce a non-soluble color pigment. For the organic pigment printing process, printing material is impregnated with a substrate that is selected according to the desired pigment color. The substrate then subjected to electrolysis using an electrode (made of a material selected to work with the selected substrate) to produce the color pigment. The electrolysis process may be controlled to achieve the desired degree of dispersion in the pigments. This, in turn, enables the system to control pigment color nuances. TABLES 13 and 14 list several examples of pigment compounds, electrodes, and the resulting color for inorganic and organic pigment printing processes, respectively, resulting in the potential range of -20V to +20V. COMPOUND ELECTRODE COLOR TiO32-, TiO2 or Tin+ ions in water or alcohol-water solution Fe, Cu or Co Black Cu2+, Cu+, Fe2+, Fe3+ or Co2+ ions in water solution Ti Black Soluble hydroxides, NH4+ or N(Aryl)4+ Fe Black SO42+ or HSO4 mixed with cellulose or sugars Pt, Pd, Au, C, Ru or Ag Black Al3+, Zn2+, Pb2+, Fe3+ or Fe3+ ions Pt, Pd, Re, Ag or Au Gray CO32- or SO42- or soluble hydroxides Pb White Soluble hydroxides, alkoholyates, phosphates, phosphoric acid, S2-, HS- or TiO32- ions Zn White CrO42-, Cr2O72-, SO42-, OH-, NH4+, or N(Aryl)4+ ions Pb, Sr, Ba or Zn Yellow OH-, NH4+, or N(Aryl)4+ ions Pb-Cr, Zn-Cr, or Fe-Al compositions Yellow S2-, HS-, or titanat ions Cd Yellow Ni2+, Fe2+, Fe3+, Cd2+ Ti Yellow CrO42-, Cr2O72-, SO42- Pb-Mo composition Red OH-, NH4+, or N(Aryl)4+ ions Fe Red S2- or Se2- Cd Red OH-, NH4+, or N(Aryl)4+ ions Zn-Fe or Ca-Fe compositions or Pb Red [Fe(CN)6]2- or [Fe(CN)4]2- Fe Blue OH-, NH4+, or N(Aryl)4+ ions Co-Al composition or Co Blue TiO32-, OH-, NH4+, or N(Aryl)4+ Cr-Co or Co-Zn compositions or Cr Green Soluble base Fe Brown Soluble base Al Orange Soluble base Ti White

The soluble bases listed in TABLE 13 may include, for example: NaOH, KOH, Ca(OH)2 and AI(OH)-n. COMPOUND ELECTRODE COLOR Phtalocyanine, phtalic acid or phtalic anhydride Zn, Ba or Ca Violet Phtalocyanine, phtalic acid or phtalic anhydride Co, Mn, Ti, Sn, Al or Mg Blue 2-amino-5-methyl sulpho acid, 3-hydroxide-2 naphtoric acid, 2-amino-4 chloro-5 methyl sulphuric acid or 3-hydroroxide 2-naphtoic acid Ba, Sc or Mn Red Benzidine Pt or Pd Red Subcinatic ether, amines, Na+, - Pt or Pd Rose or Violet 1-nitrozo-2 naphtol Fe Green Amines Pt or Pd Orange , Violet or Red Arilamid acetatic, 3-hydroxide-2-naphtoic acid, pirazol or 2-naphtol Pt or Pb Yellow

In one embodiment, an inorganic pigment dye process uses a water solution of KCI (1%), FeSO4 (2%), CuSO4 (2%), TiSO4 (3%) and K2Cr2O7 (1.5%) with a Pt electrode. With an exposure time of approximately 0.5 seconds, the application of electric potentials to the electrode will generate the following colors: 0V: yellow; 1V: brown; 10V: blue; 20V: green; 30V: red.

In one embodiment, an organic pigment dye process uses a water solution of albumin (5%) and NaCI (2%) is used with Ni, Co and Fe electrodes. Here, the albumin reacts with the metal ions that are released by the transition metals when an electric potential is applied to them. Within the voltage range of 0-20V, green, blue, orange and red may be produced.

In accordance with the invention, many of the methods and compositions described above may be combined to provide multicolor inks. For example a magenta, yellow, cyan and black ink may be produced using copper and platinum electrodes with a combination of the metalloindicators phtalonitrile, phtalic anhydride, phtalic acid and phtalocyanine with the indicator phenolphtalein in a solution of NaCl, K2SO4 and water. The color of the ink may be changed to cyan by applying a voltage to the copper electrode (from the reaction of a phtalic component). The color of the ink may be magenta when the solution is in its base form (from the reaction of the phenolphtalein). The color of the ink may be changed to yellow by using an iron electrode and applying approximately 10V to the iron electrode. Finally, when applying a platinum electrode to an organic solution containing H2SO4, the dye may be blackened by applying a voltage to the platinum electrode. This causes organic catalytic carbonization in the anodic region.

In another embodiment, one or more red-ox indicators are combined in a water or water-alcohol solution with one or more of the following dye bleaching agents: HSO4, H2O2, Cl2, ClO-, ClO3-, Cl-, SO42- or a soluble basic.

In another embodiment, electrodes may be applied to a surface (such as paper). The surface is treated with a composition of dimethylglyoxim, K2[Fe(CN)6] and Na2SO4 (approximate concentration: 1:1:1) in water. Nickel, platinum and iron electrodes are used. This embodiment produces red, violet, yellow and black pixels as follows.

The application of approximately 1.5-2V on the nickel electrode produces a red pixel. Alternatively, the application of approximately 3V to the iron electrode produces a violet pixel. The application of approximately 5V to the platinum electrode produces a yellow pixel. Finally, the application of approximately 10-20V to the platinum electrode produces a black pixel.

In another embodiment, the surface includes solid-state supplements consisting of TiO2. Using a nickel electrode, green pixels may be formed on the surface.

Black and white inks may also be provided in accordance with the invention. In one embodiment, a platinum electrode is used with normal paper impregnated with water and sodium sulphate (or potassium). In another embodiment, a nickel electrode is used with normal paper impregnated with water and Na2S. In another embodiment, an aluminum electrode is used with normal paper impregnated with water, NaCl, and pirocatehine.

In another embodiment, the paper is impregnated with WO3. WO3 is a super-ionic and makes the paper ionic-conductive. Typically, the added quantity of WO3 is no more than 5% of the total mass of the paper. Also, the particle size of the WO3 compound typically is less than 10 mkm. Again, the paper may be treated with ZnO and CaCO3 to give the paper a white appearance.

Significantly, the teachings of the invention may be used to provide a wide range of colors. For example, by controlling the quantity of charge during the electrochemical reaction (according to Faraday's Law, ion quantity is proportional to charge flow), the method allows to vary the relative concentration of the H+ (for pH-based color control), Me+ (for metal-based color control) and red-ox ions. This, in turn, enables to control the intensity of the color obtained. As a result, the transparency, richness and other characteristics of each color may be adjusted within a relatively wide range.

Fig. 3 illustrates several spectra 54 of a magenta-colored dye. These spectra were taken by illuminating a cell with a known white light source and measuring the relative absorption over the visible spectrum. The various spectra represent different voltages applied to one dye, showing that variable optical density (gray-scale) control can be achieved.

From the above, it may be seen that the invention provides an improved method for producing color changes in a medium. While certain specific embodiments of the invention are disclosed as typical, the invention is not limited to these particular forms, but rather is applicable broadly to all such variations as fall within the scope of the appended claims. To those skilled in the art to which the invention pertains many modifications and adaptations will occur. For example, a wide variety of mixtures of electrochemically sensitive dyes and types of electrodes may be used to accomplish color changes. Thus, the specific structures and methods discussed in detail above are merely illustrative of a few specific embodiments of the invention.


Anspruch[en]
  1. A method of producing a color change in a medium, comprising the steps of:
    • a) providing said medium with at least one first substance, having a first color, said first substance selected from the group consisting of metals, and electrolytes

      and
      • at least one second substance, having a second color, said second substance being a metalloindicator that is not a red-ox system when the first substance is a metal, and an electrochemical reactive pigment or a bleachable dye when the first substance is an electrolyte
      • said first substance capable of producing at least one active agent, having a third color,
      • and said second substance capable of reacting with said active agent resulting in a compound,
      • said compound having a fourth color that is different from the first, second and third colors.
    • b) applying at least one electric voltage to said medium.
  2. A method according to claim 1 wherein at least two of the first, second and third color are the same or different.
  3. A method according to claim 1 wherein the charged particle is an H+, OH-, Men+ or a bleaching agent.
  4. A method according to claim 1 wherein the first substance functions as an electrode.
  5. A method according to claim 1 wherein the step of applying electric voltage comprises
    • providing said medium with at least two electrodes, said electrodes being in electric communication with said medium and with a power supply; and
    • activating said power supply.
  6. A method according to claim 7 wherein the step of applying electric voltage comprises the steps of supplying a first potential to a first one of the electrodes to provide a first color and supplying a second potential to a second one of the electrodes to provide a second color.
  7. A method according to claim 1 wherein the step of applying electric voltage comprises applying a potential to at least one of the electrodes, wherein the potential is greater than an electrochemical breakdown potential associated with the at least one electrode.
  8. A method according to claim 1 wherein the step of applying electric voltage comprises controlling a quantity of charge passed to the mixture to control a color intensity of the mixture.
  9. A method according to claim 1 wherein applying a first electric potential to the medium produces a first color and applying a second electric potential to the medium produces a second color.
  10. Method of producing a color change in a medium, comprising the steps of:
    • a) providing said medium with a polymerizing agent, at least one electrolyte and at least one organic dye,

      and
    • b) applying at least one electric voltage to said medium.
  11. A method according to claim 10 wherein the electrolyte has a first color and is capable of producing at least one active agent having a second color and the organic dye, having a third color, is capable of reacting with said active agent resulting in a compound having a fourth color that is different from the first, second and third colors.
  12. A method according to claim 11 wherein at least two of the first, second and third color are the same or different.
  13. A method according to claim 10 wherein the polymerizing agent is selected from the group consisting of polacrylamides and polysacharides
  14. A method according to claim 10 wherein the step of applying electric voltage comprises
    • providing said medium with at least two electrodes, said electrodes being in electric communication with said medium and with a power supply; and
    • activating said power supply.
  15. A method according to claim 14 wherein the step of applying electric voltage comprises the steps of

    supplying a first potential to a first one of the electrodes to provide a first color and supplying a second potential to a second one of the electrodes to provide a second color.
  16. A method according to claim 10 wherein the step of applying electric voltage comprises applying a potential to at least one of the electrodes, wherein the potential is greater than an electrochemical breakdown potential associated with the at least one electrode.
  17. A method according to claim 10 wherein the step of applying electric voltage comprises controlling a quantity of charge passed to the mixture to control a color intensity of the mixture.
  18. A method according to claim 11 wherein applying a first electric potential to the medium produces a first color and applying a second electric potential to the medium to produce a second color.
  19. A method for producing a medium that undergoes a color change comprising the steps a) and b) of claim 1.
  20. A method for producing a medium that undergoes a color change comprising the steps a) and b) of claim 10.
  21. A method for producing color change in a medium comprising the steps of:
    • a) providing said medium with at least one first substance capable of producing at least one transparent active agent;
    • b) applying at least one electric voltage to said medium, obtaining said transparent active agent;
    • c) adding to said transparent active agent at least one second substance, said second substance capable of reacting with said at least one transparent active agent resulting in a compound, said compound having a color that is not transparent.
  22. A method for producing a latent image comprising the steps of:
    • a) providing said medium with at least one first substance capable of producing at least one transparent active agent;
    • b) applying at least one electric voltage to said medium, obtaining said transparent active agent;
    • c) producing a latent image with said transparent active agent.
  23. A method according to claim 21 further comprising the step of adding to the latent image at least one second substance, said second substance capable of reacting with said at least one transparent active agent resulting in a compound, said compound having a color that is not transparent, to make the latent image visible.
  24. Use of the method according to claim 20 for the production of a latent image.
  25. Use of a medium for producing a color change by applying an electric voltage to said medium., said comprising with at least one first substance, having a first color, said first substance selected from the group consisting of metals, electrolytes

    and
    • at least one second substance, having a second color, said second substance being a metalloindicator that is not a red-ox system when the first substance is a metal, and an electrochemical reactive pigment or a bleachable dye when the first substance is an electrolyte
    • said first substance capable of producing at least one active agent, having a third color,
    • and said second substance capable of reacting with said active agent resulting in a compound.
  26. Use of a medium comprising a polymerizing agent, at least one electrolyte and at least one organic dye, for producing a color change by applying an electric voltage to said medium.






IPC
A Täglicher Lebensbedarf
B Arbeitsverfahren; Transportieren
C Chemie; Hüttenwesen
D Textilien; Papier
E Bauwesen; Erdbohren; Bergbau
F Maschinenbau; Beleuchtung; Heizung; Waffen; Sprengen
G Physik
H Elektrotechnik

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