xerography (zərŏgˈrəfēˌ) [key], also called electrophotography, method of dry photocopying in which the image is transferred by using the attractive forces of electric charges. A beam of light, usually from a laser, is made to strike the original material, e.g., a white page with black lettering. Light rays are reflected off the white areas onto a photosensitive plate over which electric charges have been spread. Charges are neutralized from the areas struck by the rays. Since no light rays are reflected from the lettering, charges are retained on the plate in areas corresponding to the lettered areas of the original. A plastic powder called toner is introduced that sticks to the charged areas. A sheet of paper is then passed between the plate and another charged object that draws the powder from the plate to the paper, forming an image of the original; the powder is fused to the paper with heat. The process has image resolution that is sufficient for printed or written materials, and certain pictorial materials are fairly well reproduced. As the image on the drum is a projected one rather than one made by contact printing, it is possible to produce a copy that is smaller or larger than the original. Variations of the xerographic process are used in such devices as computer laser printers and plain-paper facsimile machines.
See study by D. Owen (2004).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.