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Laser Printer and Photocopier - What is the Difference?

Laser printers and photocopiers both make use of the process known as Xerography:

 “a dry copying process in which powder adheres to parts of a surface remaining electrically charged after being exposed to light from an image of the document to be copied” (Oxford English Dictionary).

However, there are 2 significant differences in the way the process is implemented.

How Laser Printers 'v' Photocopier Source the Image

• Photocopiers scan a document by reflecting white light off it in order to obtain an image for the photoreceptor

• Laser printers do not scan a document prior to forming any image on the photoreceptor. They start by receiving the document data in a digital format. 

How Laser Printers 'v' Photocopier Produce an Electrostatic Image on the Drum

Initial State of the Drum
 

Photosensitive_Laser_Drum


Laser Printers
 

How_a_Laser_Printer_Produces_Image_on_Drum

 

The letters of the document are formed 'directly'  i.e. where the laser light strikes the photosensitive drum. Therefore, the background retains the positive charge (polarity) and the photosensitive discharged areas, correlating to the letters, become negatively charged. This is also known as 'Write-Black' or 'Blackwriting´

Photocopier
 

How_a_Photocopier_Produces_Image_on_Drum

 

The letters of the document are formed 'indirectly' i.e. where the reflected light did not strike the photosensitive drum. Therefore, the letters retain the positive charge (polarity) and the photosensitive discharged 'background' becomes negatively charged. This is also known as 'Write-White' or 'Whitewriting´.


Articles

1 History of Laser Printers
2 How do Laser Printers Work?
3 LED and LCD Printers - Are these Laser Printers?
4 Laser Printer and Photocopier - What is the Difference?
5 Laser Printer Paper - A3 Size and its Equivalent
6 Toner Cartridges - What are the Different Types?
7 Choosing a Laser Printer – How to Make an Informed Choice
8 Where to buy a Laser Printer and its Consumables - High Street v Internet
9 Basic Maintenance of Laser Printer
10 Who uses A3 Laser Printers?
11 A3 Laser Printers compared to A4 Laser Printers
12 A3 Colour Laser Printers compared to A3 Monochrome Laser Printers
13 A3 Colour Laser Printers compared to A3 Colour Inkjet Printers
14 Why does a Laser Printer cost more to buy than an Inkjet Printer?
15 Laser Printers: Health and Safety

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