Zink (technology)

Zink (stylised as ZINK), a portmanteau of "Zero INK," is a full-color printing technology[1] for digital devices that does not require ink cartridges and prints in a single pass.[2] The printing technology and its thermal paper are developed by Zink Holdings LLC, a U.S. company, with offices in Edison, New Jersey, and Billerica, Massachusetts, and a manufacturing facility in Whitsett, North Carolina. Zink Holdings makes all the paper;[2] makes a printer for printing labels and other designs on rolls of Zink zRoll; and licenses its technology to other companies that make compact photo printers, and combined camera / compact photo printers that print photographs onto mostly 2×3” (about 5×8 cm) sheets of Zink Paper. Key licensees include HP, Lifeprint, Prynt, and C&A Global.

The Zink technology started as a project inside Polaroid Corporation in the 1990s, which spun out Zink as a fully independent company in 2005.

Zink Holdings LLC

Zink Holdings LLC
IndustryConsumer electronics, Photography

Zink Holdings LCC is a technology company headquartered in Billerica, Massachusetts [3](formerly Bedford, Massachusetts),[4][5][6] founded in 2005.[7] It develops what it calls "ZINK Zero Ink technology" and "ZINK Paper".[7] Zink’s Research and development labs and headquarters are in Billerica, with a paper manufacturing plant in Whitsett, North Carolina[3][7] (using staff and facilities previously used by Konica Minolta).[2][8][9]

Zink started as one of two major new technologies being developed inside Polaroid Corporation in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the 1990s, with 100 researchers working on it.[2] Polaroid Corporation spun out Zink as a fully independent company in 2005,[10] with 50 of its staff moving to it.[2] Zink first unveiled its technology in January 2007, at IDG's DEMO 07 conference.[11][12]

Zink makes all the paper;[2] makes a printer for printing labels and other designs on rolls of Zink zRoll; and licenses its technology to other companies that make compact photo printers, and combined camera / compact photo printers.[n 1]

The technology

The paper has several layers: a backing layer with optional pressure sensitive adhesive, heat-sensitive layers with cyan, magenta and yellow dyes in colorless form, and overcoat.

The color addressing is achieved by controlling the heat pulse length and intensity.[13]

The color-forming layers contain colorless crystals of amorphochromic dyes. These dyes form microcrystals of their colorless tautomers, which convert to the colored form by melting and retain color after resolidification.[14][15]

The yellow layer is the topmost one, sensitive to short heat pulses of high temperature. The magenta layer is in the middle, sensitive to longer pulses of moderate temperature. The cyan layer is at the bottom, sensitive to long pulses of lower temperature. The layers are separated by thin interlayers, acting as heat insulation, moderating the heat throughout.[16]

Zink Paper printers

Zink Paper printers print photographs onto mostly 2×3” (about 5×8 cm) sheets of Zink Paper, though some print onto 3×4" (about 8×10 cm) paper, and some print onto 2.3x3.4” (3.8x8.6 cm) paper.

  • Dell Wasabi (PZ310)[17][18][19][20]
  • Canon IVY[21] (U.S.A.) or Zoemini (Europe) – produces 2×3" prints
  • HP Sprocket[22]
  • HP Sprocket Plus[23] - produces 2.3x3.4” (5.8x8.6 cm) prints
  • HP Sprocket 200[24]
  • LG Pocket Photo (PD233)[25]
  • Lifeprint[26]
  • Polaroid Grey Label GL10 (PLDGL10PRINTR) – produces 3×4" prints. Discontinued.[27]
  • Polaroid PoGo
    • CZA-10011B
    • CZU-10011B
    • CZA-20011B
  • Polaroid Zip Instant Photoprinter (POLMP01)[28]
  • Prynt Case (later called Prynt Classic)[29][30]
  • Prynt Pocket[31]
  • Brother VC-500W
  • Huawei Pocket Photo Printer[32]

Combined digital cameras and Zink printers

  • HP Sprocket Two-in-one - The combined camera-printer version of the Sprocket.
  • Kodak Printomatic - Instant Print 10 MP Digital Camera that produces 2"×3" sticky-backed prints
  • Kodak Smile - Instant Print 10 MP Digital Camera with LCD viewfinder that produces 2"×3" sticky-backed prints
  • Kodak Smile Classic - Instant Print Digital Camera that produces 3.25"×4.5" sticky-backed prints
  • Polaroid PoGo[n 2] (CZA-05300) – a 5 MP digital camera that produces 2×3" prints[33]
  • Polaroid PIC-1000 – a 12 MP digital camera that produces 3×4" prints[34][35]
  • Polaroid Z340 – a 14 MP digital camera that produces 3×4" prints[36][37]
  • Polaroid Z2300 Digital Instant Print Camera (POLZ2300) – a 10 MP digital camera that produces 2×3" prints[38]
  • Tomy Xiao (TIP-521) – a 5 MP digital camera that produces 2×3" prints[39][40][41][42]
  • Polaroid Socialmatic – a 14 MP digital camera with 4.5" LCD screen, produces 2x3" prints [43]
  • Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera (POLSP01) – a 10 MP digital camera that produces 2×3" prints[44]
  • Polaroid Snap Plus – a 13 MP digital camera with 3.5" LCD screen, produces 2x3" prints.[45]
  • Polaroid Pop (announced at CES 2017) – 3.5x4.25" format[46]

Zink zRoll printers

Stylised as ZINK hAppy. Marketed as a "smart app printer". Launched in 2013.[47]

  • Zink Happy from Zink Imaging[48][49]
  • Zink Happy+ from Zink Imaging[49]

Paper formats

  • Zink Paper
    • Zink Photo Paper (POLZPPxxx)† – 2×3" (about 5×7.6 cm) sheets
    • Zink Photo Paper (POLZ3X4xx) – 3×4" (about 8×10 cm) sheets
    • Premium Zink Photo Paper (POLZ2X3xx) – 2×3” sheets
    • Premium Zink Rainbow Photo Paper (POLZ2X3xxRB) – 2×3” sheets
    • HP Sprocket Photo Paper – 2×3" (5×7.6 cm) sheets
    • HP Sprocket Plus Photo Paper – 2.3×3.4" (5.8×8.7 cm) sheets
  • Zink zRoll - available in a variety of widths

† The 'x' in the model represents the number of sheets of paper in the pack.


  1. Actually Alps Electric produce the Zink print engines, and Foxconn and Lite-On build Zink-based products for major consumer-products companies.
  2. The combined Polaroid digital camera / printers should not be confused with the analogue Polaroid Pic-300 instant camera and PIF-300 instant film, which is a rebranded Fujifilm Instax Mini 7s camera and Fujifilm Instax Mini film, respectively.


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