electrothermal printer A type of thermal printer in which a thermoplastic ink is transferred from a ribbon to the base medium (usually paper or transparent film) by localized heating. The heating occurs as current is passed from discrete electrical contacts on the print head through a resistive layer in the ribbon to a common return layer. Compared with thermal transfer printers, the print quality is less dependent on the surface finish of the receiving medium but the complexity of the ribbon makes the cost of usage higher. Improvements in thermal transfer printers have made electrothermal technology obsolete.
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