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Trusting the Process

Mastering Polaroid film chemistry is something of an eternal, unfinishable quest of ours. It can always be improved upon. From opacification to sensitization to manufacturability, read on to see some of the areas we’ve been working on with our valiant R&D team.

Sensitization

(our experiments with color)

Sensitization is basically a set of processes that is applied to our film before exposure, which affects the final colors produced. It’s about how the silver in our film reacts to different frequencies of light. By pushing ourselves to improve sensitization, we’re aiming to get richer, more saturated colors.

Here you can see in this comparison that we're fine-tuning and experimenting with different tones of red.

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Finally, we’re also looking to improve on our whites.

You can see that on the experimental image on the right, there’s less yellow, and the whites are whiter. That’s right, we’re going for the whitest whites we can get. This is controlled by a compound we call the ElectronDonor(ED). We’re currently developing a new ED, which leads to much better dye release.

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Opacification

(our experiments at improving shielding the photograph from light right after it comes out of the camera)

Opacification is basically a measure of how much light we can block from the photograph during the sensitive development process, where the first two minutes are particularly critical. It’s the reason our cameras have the film shield: to help protect a photograph from when it's first ejected from the camera, and still sensitive to light.

We also use an opacification dye, and by constantly working to improve that, we can basically do the job of a dark room, and keep out more light during the development phase… which leads to better photos and easier handling in bright sunlight!

You can see here from this extreme test we did outside, using a shortened film shield (like the ones used in 600 cameras). The new dye is already making an impact, and we’re excited to nail it from a scale up and production standpoint before the next film iteration.

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Phase separation

(the battle of ‘blue flame’)

We’re working on a new Polymer backbone in the paste, which will lead to less phase separation, and no more of the blue flames, even with older film that has been on the shelf for more than a year.

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New lab drop!

(we just want to show off our new labs at this point)

It’s not just our film that’s developing. We’ve built up some completely new labs at our negative and positive coating facility in Monheim, Germany, which will mean more new experiments—which will lead to more new discoveries/achievements.

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For now, that’s all from us at Polaroid R&D.

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