We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Xerography?

By Caitlin Kenney
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
All The Science is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All The Science, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Xerography is a photocopying technology that uses light and electric charge to copy images onto another sheet of paper. When it was invented in 1937, the process, then known as electrophotography, took a lot of manual attention to operate and generated very little interest. Today, however, xerography is easy to use and found in printers, fax machines, and the photocopiers that can be found in almost any office.

Modern photocopiers are automated so that the user simply has to insert the image he wants copied, close the lid, press "start," and wait for a copy to be made. Inside, however, there is a complex process taking place. Most xerography machines have a plate, band, or cylindrical drum that is coated with a photoconductive material such as amorphous selenium. Photoconductors are substances that become more electrically charged when exposed to light. A mechanism in the photocopier called the Corona Unit evenly applies a positive or negative charge to the drum.

A beam of light is then shone onto the image that is being copied. The image reflects the light onto the drum, projecting more light from the whiter parts of the image and no light through the darker parts. This creates a reverse picture on the drum, with the whiter parts composed of excited particles due to the light exposure and the darker parts composed of less excited particles. This is called a latent image.

A mixture of toner and carrier is then applied to the drum. The carrier particles have an opposite charge to the excited particles, or the light exposed area, in the latent image. The toner, a powder that provides the color in the xerography machine, sticks to the carrier particles, where the dark parts of the original image would be. A paper is then placed between the drum and a charged plate called a transfer corona. Using a heat roller and the electrical attraction of the transfer corona, the toner is lifted off the drum and pressed into the paper, creating the photocopied image.

Xerography was first invented by Chester Carlson, a patent attorney living with his family in Queens, NY. He and his assistant, Otto Kornei, developed the first, rudimentary xerography machine by manually applying the electrostatic charge, the light, the powder, and the pressure needed to make a photocopy. When they finally succeeded, however, it took Carlson another ten years to garner corporate interest. In 1944, Carlson won an agreement with Haloid, now known as Xerox, who was able to turn xerography into useful, commercial products. The product met with wild success after it was released in the form of an automated office photocopier in 1959.

Today, many other companies and products use xerography. The technology is used in both laser and LED printers as well as facsimile machines, more commonly known as fax machines. The product can have a band or plate instead of a drum and often uses organic photoconductors (OPCs) instead of the amorphous selenium originally used by Xerox. Depending on the age and make of the machine, it may only be useful for black and white printed writing and basic images. Newer machines, however, can create high quality, complex images in black and white or color.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.