Printing holograms with an inkjet printer

Please check out our latest articles about hologram printing, this is an older article about this topic.

Please check out our latest articles about hologram printing, this is an older article about this topic.

Holograms are a popular feature often used in security printing to prevent falsification of banknotes, credit cards and ID cards. However, getting the holograms onto the cards or banknotes can be a lengthy and intricate process. Researchers from ITMO University in Saint Petersburg, Russia, have now found a way to print holograms on a commercially available inkjet printer using a specially formulated nano-ink. The benefits: Considerable time and cost savings.

The team of scientists, led by Alexander Vinogradov, senior research associate at the International Laboratory of Solution Chemistry of Advanced Materials and Technology at ITMO developed colorless ink made of nanocrystalline titania. In a next step, they deposited the ink on top of exposed polyethylene terephthalate-based microembossed paper with an ordinary inkjet printer. The ink covered the microscopic structure of the paper, thus creating a patterned image. The paper was then covered with varnish to preserve the image. The ink enables the printing of custom holographic images on transparent film in a matter of minutes instead of the days it took with the use of conventional methods.


Conventional methods have been around since the 1960s but one of their major drawbacks has been the time it took to create a hologram. The first step was developing a master hologram, which was then usually laser-recorded on a thin layer of photosensitive polymer. The polymer layer served as a stencil for a metallic matrix, which was then used to emboss a micro-relief. The whole process was very sensitive to environmental conditions such as temperature changes and vibrations. “Printing separate holographic images in a quick and effective manner is a challenge that, until now, has been unresolved,” says scientist Aleksandr Yakovlev.

The team claims that making holograms with inkjet printers could cut the cost by several times, allow for the rendering of images of any size, and, finally, lead to the creation of unique custom holograms in a matter of minutes. The paper describing the process was published on November 17 in the science journal ‘Advanced Functional Materials.


While the cost and time savings are clearly an advantage for packaging companies who haven’t been able to use holographic printing due to the time and costs involved. Yet the price and effort involved in holographic printing was one of the aspects that made holograms valuable as a security feature because they couldn’t be easily replicated. While the new process still requires special ink and paper, it remains to be seen whether it will impact the usefulness of holograms as a security feature.




  • 11. Januar 2016 14:22

    My name is Liselotte and I collect holograms and 3-D pictures. At this moment I have Sweden’s greatest collection that is privately own and I also waiting for Guinness. Now I wonder if you can help me to enhance my collection by sending some samples?? Many, many thanks on beforehand!! My address is:
    Liselotte Frejdig
    Tennisvägen 3 A
    SE-660 60 Molkom

    • drupa
      11. Januar 2016 14:55

      Hi Liselotte,

      this is an industry article about the printing technique. We are a trade fair and don’t supply products ourselves.

      Best regards
      the drupa team

  • prafulla sathe
    8. Februar 2016 7:23

    Can we see this in Drupa Any company show casing this innovation pls communicate


    Prafulla Sathe

    • Redaktion
      15. Februar 2016 10:17

      Dear Mr Sathe,

      we have forwarded your question to the drupa event team and will be in touch.

      Best regards
      Your drupa team

  • 22. März 2019 13:20

    Where and how can I purchase these products, or is this just a service you offer?

    • Christiane Hermann
      26. Juni 2019 13:05

      Hi Shane,
      Thank you so much for your message. With our article we just inform about the invention, but we don’t aim to sell the product since we are a trade fair and don’t supply products ourselves.
      Best regards,
      Your drupa team

  • 8. Dezember 2019 12:33

    Very cool!

  • Anonymous
    6. Oktober 2020 18:02

    Is there any news about the development of such a hologram ink? Is it going to be released on the market or something? Thank you

    • Christiane Hermann
      14. Oktober 2020 17:27

      Thank you very much for your comments. We are always keeping an eye on developments and if there are exciting news from this area, we will report here sooner or later. In the meantime, it’s worth taking a look at our other articles here on the blog.

  • muthu kumar Narayanasamy
    8. April 2021 10:30

    Hi drupa team.
    Can I ge yr mail ad.
    I wNt send some simple if you can print for me..

    • Christiane Hermann
      7. Mai 2021 12:06

      Hello, thank you for contacting us with your concern. However, we are not a provider of the technologies presented on our blog, but a trade fair that is a platform for presenting innovations and networking.

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