Cabot Corporation (NYSE: CBT) has developed a new category of material for use in electrophotographic applications. Cabot’s new ATLAS™ silica composite particles are designed to greatly improve the image quality and consistency of modern, energy-efficient toner in laser printers and multifunction devices. Today’s high volume laser printers demand toners that effectively maintain image quality over extended print runs, while also enabling faster printing and increased energy efficiency. Toner manufacturers have attempted to meet these standards by producing toners with softer resins that can be fused to paper at lower temperatures. However, these soft toners are more susceptible to physical degradation during extended print runs of hundreds or thousands of pages that results in a decline in image quality. When ATLAS silica composite particles are added to the mixture of powders in a typical toner formulation, they distribute themselves more evenly on the surface of larger toner particles. They then act as spacers to protect the toner surface from physical stress, enabling consistent tribocharging, free flow and print quality. “The unique shape and size of ATLAS silica composite particles have been specifically engineered to prevent embedding, migration and separation from the toner surface — a phenomenon that typically limits the performance of other materials used as spacers,” said Hajime Kambara, Global Applications Development Lead. “As a result, when compared to fumed and colloidal silica spacers, ATLAS silica composite particles enable a marked improvement in enhancing toner image quality over long print runs.” ATLAS silica composite particles are comprised of silica and polymer in a spheroid shape. The relatively homogeneous size of the composite particles helps to provide an even distribution within the toner and results in improved toner image uniformity on the printed page. In addition, the lightweight silica composite particles enable 25% less mass loading to achieve the same coverage on the toner surface when compared to other silica products.