Ultrasonic Dispersion of Tattoo Ink

Tattoo inks are specialty inks used for the artificial pigmentation of the skin. Mixing and dispersing tattoo inks with a probe-type sonicator offers advantages such as homogenization, particle size reduction, ingredient dispersion, reduced processing time, sterilization, and controlled process parameters. These benefits contribute to improved ink quality, tattoo outcomes, and overall safety and efficiency in the tattooing process.

Tattoo Inks

Ultrasonic dispersing for tattoo inksTattoos are a popular form of artificial body adornment and are considered as cosmetic. During the tattooing, the ink, consisting in pigments and a carrier liquid, is inserted via a needle into the dermis, the middle layer of the skin. Most tattooists work with pre-dispersed (pre-mixed) inks. Pre-dispersed inks are convenient for the tattoo artist and ensure a safe and even application. The pre-dispersed ink is a ready-to-use solution, where the pigments are dispersed the carrier liquid. Since the pigment gives the tattoo ink a certain color and makes the tattoo permanent, the pigment particles or crystals must be evenly mixed. The particle size can vary from micro to nano range. The pigment particle size is an important factor for the color expression of the ink. Ultrasonic homogenizer are a well-known and proven tool for the reliable particle breakage and dispersion. The ultrasonic dispersion process can be precisely controlled and produces a stable fine-sized ink product.

Sonicator UP100H for the simple, safe dispersion of tattoo ink.

Probe-type sonicator UP100H for tattoo ink dispersion

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Ultrasonic Dispersion of Tattoo Inks

Ultrasonic mixing and dispersing of tattoo inks is linked to improved tattoo ink quality. The use of a probe-type sonicator is a reliable, easy-to-use and safe mixing procedure coming with several advantages.

  • Homogenization of Ink: Sonication facilitates the thorough mixing of pigments and other ingredients in tattoo ink. The ultrasound waves generated by the sonicator probe break down clumps of pigment particles, ensuring a uniform distribution throughout the ink solution. This results in a consistent color and texture, which is crucial for achieving desired tattoo outcomes.
  • Particle Size Reduction: Sonication can effectively reduce the size of pigment particles in the ink. Smaller particle sizes lead to smoother ink flow and improved ink penetration into the skin during the tattooing process. This can result in finer lines, sharper details, and overall better tattoo quality. Additionally, smaller particles may enhance ink stability and reduce the risk of particle aggregation or sedimentation over time.
  • Uniform Mixing of Ingredients: Tattoo ink typically contains various additives, such as stabilizers, preservatives, and solvents, in addition to pigments. Sonication helps disperse these ingredients evenly throughout the ink solution, ensuring uniformity and stability. This dispersion can enhance the ink performance and longevity, reducing the likelihood of ink separation or degradation.
  • Quick and On-Time: Probe-type sonicators are efficient and capable of rapidly achieving desired mixing and dispersion effects. Compared to traditional mixing methods, such as manual stirring or shaking, sonication significantly reduces processing time, allowing tattoo artists to prepare ink batches more quickly and efficiently. Due to the simple and rapid procedure, tattoo artists can easily prepare smaller ink batches on demand.
  • Sterilization and Decontamination: Hielscher sonicators offer features such as autoclaving or sterilizable probes, which can help ensure the cleanliness and safety of the tattoo ink preparation process. Proper sterilization of equipment is essential for preventing contamination and minimizing the risk of infection during tattoo procedures.


Ultrasonicator UP200St (200W) dispersing carbon black in water using 1%wt Tween80 as surfactant.

Ultrasonic Dispersion of Carbon Black using the ultrasonicator UP200St

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Whether for smaller production of specialty colors and inks or for the industrial manufacturing of large pigment suspensions – Hielscher Ultrasonics offers you the ideal ultrasonic disperser for your requirement. A small lab disperser such as the UP100H or UP200Ht are suitable for the treatment of small to mid-size volumes and therefore recommended for the production of customized pigment mixtures and specialty inks. Industrial-grade sonicators like the UIP1500hdT or UIP2000hdT give you the capacity for producing larger volumes of pigment suspensions for commercial distribution.
The table below gives you an overview over the most suitable ultrasonic device for a specific volume range. Click on the device type to get more information on each ultrasonicator.

Batch VolumeFlow RateRecommended Devices
0.5 to 1.5mLn.a.VialTweeter
1 to 250mL10 to 50mL/minUP50H
10 to 2000mL20 to 400mL/minUP200Ht, UP400St
0.1 to 20L0.2 to 4L/minUIP1000hd, UIP2000hdT
10 to 100L2 to 10L/minUIP4000hdT
n.a.10 to 100L/minUIP16000
n.a.largercluster of UIP16000

Hielscher ultrasonic devices give you convenience by reducing the process time and by improving the product quality. Our ultrasonic systems are very robust, easy to use and require hardly maintenance.

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Please use the form below, if you wish to request additional information about ultrasonic homogenization. We will be glad to offer you an ultrasonic system meeting your requirements.

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This video of the UP100H ultrasonic homogenizer shows its compact design and versatile applications, such as dispersing, homogenizing, mixing, degassing or emulsification.

Ultrasonicator UP100H (100 Watts) - Compact Ultrasonic Homogenizer

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Ultrasonic Dispersion of UV Black Ink: Ultrasound results in a homogeneous fine dispersion (Click to enlarge!)

Black Ink Pigments: Before and After Ultrasonication

Ultrasonic probe UP200St for dispersion and mixing of pigments into tattoo ink

Sonicator UP200St for ink disperion

Facts Worth Knowing


Color pigments used in tattoo ink can be sourced from different materials such as metal oxides, heavy metals, organic chemicals and plant-based colorants.
Black is the mostly used tattoo ink. To achieve a strong black coloration, carbon black and logwood pigments are beside iron oxides the main coloring ingredients of the ink.
White pigments are the secondly most used ones which are applied alone or to dilute other colors for a lighter shade. Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, barium sulfate and lead carbonate are the pigments that give the ink its white color.
Heavy metals used for colors include mercury (red); lead (yellow, green, white); cadmium (red, orange, yellow); nickel (black); zinc (yellow, white); chromium (green); cobalt (blue); aluminium (green, violet); titanium dioxide (white); copper (blue, green); iron (brown, red, black); and barium (white). Metal oxides used include ferrocyanide and ferricyanide (yellow, red, green, blue). Organic chemicals used include azo-chemicals (orange, brown, yellow, green, violet) and naptha-derived chemicals (red). Other elements used as pigments include antimony, arsenic, beryllium, calcium, lithium, selenium, and sulphur.


Commonly used ingredients of the carrier solution are purified water, glycerine, ethanol, ethyl alcohol, witch hazel, and glycerin. Less frequently denatured alcohols, methanol, rubbing alcohol, and propylene glycol are found as ingredients.


The dispersing agent or dissolvent functions as a stabilizer and ensures that the pigments in the tattoo ink maintain in an evenly dissolved or suspended status. The stabilizers are important for the consistency of the tattoo ink.


Additives are chemical substances which are added to achieve specific characteristics e.g. for preservation, improved shelf-life or to adjust the viscosity.

Coating agents

Coating agents are chemical substances used to modify and functionalize the pigments in the tattoo ink. By the modification / functionalization, the ink particles obtain specific characteristics.

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