Processes

UV LEDs making waves with clean water

water
Oxford Instruments systems now facilitate water purification technology

With World Earth Day last week I’ve decided to make this weeks blog about how new technology is being used to enhance people’s lives in a fundamental way. The UN recognises that clean drinking water is a global issue with over 660 million people lacking access. One way to make water clean of bacteria and viruses, is to shine Ultraviolet (UV) light of a certain frequency through it disrupting the DNA of the micro organisms. However, previous UV light sources have been mercury lamp based which require a lot of energy to work and pose a threat of mercury contamination.

What has this got to do with Plasma Technology?

These days the UV light source can be in the form of a Light Emitting Diode (LED). UV LEDs have several advantages over traditional UV light sources. They operate at low DC power, meaning that they can be powered from a solar energy source. Combined with the fact that they are lighter and more robust than the traditional sources, this makes them ideally suited for use in remote, off grid locations where clean water supplies are limited or none existent UV LED’s are also tuned to the optimum wavelength for the removal of bacteria, making them significantly more effective in purifying water than traditional light sources. Lastly, UV LED’s do not contain mercury. Consequently there is a significant reduction in the environmental impact risk, through both accidental contamination and the need for recycling when comparing UV LED’s and traditional UV lamps.

Plasma Technology has been a major part of the LED industry since its very beginning, providing advanced plasma etch and deposition tools for manufacturing. Now our systems are being used to facilitate the introduction of UV LEDs, being utilised in water purification systems to bring safe drinking water to remote places.

Find out more about our PECVD here and Gallium Nitride (GaN) Etching here.

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