Inkless and erasable printing is the key solution towards a more sustainable paper industry, in terms of reducing paper wastages and the associated environmental hazards from waste paper processing. However, only a few cases have been reported in the literature where inkless printing has been tested in some practical systems. In an attempt to address this solution, we used photochromic metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) and tested their capability as inkless and erasable printing media. The printing was performed using sunlight as the light source on MOF-coated papers. The resulting printing had good resolution and stability, and was capable of being read both by the human eye and smart electronic devices; furthermore, the paper could be reused for several cycles without any significant loss in intensity. Interestingly, different coloured printing with a similar efficiency was achieved by varying the structure of the MOF.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Top 50 Articles of 2016: Inorganic Chemistry