View Full Version : The next LED revolution is upon us, and it is ultraviolet

01-22-2015, 05:03 PM
The next LED revolution is upon us, and it is ultraviolet

YUSUKE HINATA, Nikkei staff writer
TOKYO -- It took a decade of work and the help of two Nobel laureates, but industrial pump manufacturer Nikkiso is finally gearing up for the mass production of deep ultraviolet light-emitting diodes.

This module uses the light from deep UV LEDs to disinfect running water.
Close This module uses the light from deep UV LEDs to disinfect running water.
These deep UV LEDs emit even shorter wavelengths of light than blue LEDs, and they have promising applications. Nikkiso envisions applications for its deep UV LEDs in three broad fields.

First is the environmental field, where the sterilizing effects of deep UV radiation can be put to use disinfecting water and sewage. This is already done using mercury lamps, but the new LEDs have many
advantages: They are smaller and can run on lower voltage, around 5-7 volts. They are far more durable, lasting more than 10,000 hours, compared to around 3,000 to 5,000 hours for mercury lamps. Finally, they do not use toxic mercury.

The second field is medicine, where Nikkiso anticipates a wide range of applications in addition to the sterilization of medical instrumentation.

One example is dermatology, where selective dosing with different wavelengths of deep UV radiation can be used as a form of light therapy to treat skin disorders.

Another example is the measurement of the purity and density of proteins and DNA by combining the LEDs with photodetectors.

And Nikkiso has already incorporated the LEDs into its kidney dialysis machines as a way to check for the elimination of waste materials from the blood.

Industrial applications are the third promising field. Used with UV-hardening resins for bonding and coating processes, the LEDs can improve the efficiency of the production line because they can reach stable output much faster than mercury lamps, which take more time to warm up.

But even as the company works to propose applications in these fields, it also intends to utilize the deep UV LEDs in its own products.

Together with its pump technologies, Nikkiso has developed a module that can be fitted to food machinery to sterilize water on the move.

The hard road

It was clear from the start -- Nikkiso first began developing deep UV LEDs in 2006 -- that it would be difficult to grow crystals of uniform properties in order to mass-produce high-quality versions of the elements.

For help and guidance, the company turned to Isamu Akasaki of Meijo University and Hiroshi Amano of Nagoya University, both of whom shared the 2014 Nobel Prize in physics for their work on blue LEDs with Shuji Nakamura of University of California, Santa Barbara.

"We doggedly pursued the research, just like these pioneers," recalled Shigeo Maruo, who heads the company's R&D subsidiary Nikkiso Giken.

With the guidance of the two future Nobel laureates, Maruo and the staff at Nikkiso Giken fine-tuned their mass-production technologies and began selling samples of their deep UV LEDs in 2012.

Nikkiso completed a 2.2 billion yen ($18.5 million) production facility in Ishikawa Prefecture this past June that is now in trial operation. Full-scale mass production of the LEDs is expected to start in April.
"We're confident of the performance of these LEDs," Maruo said, "and the next step now is to ascertain customer needs."

With rivals like Asahi Kasei also developing deep UV LEDs, this nascent market is likely to see intense competition in the years ahead.

For Nikkiso, that means continuing to boost performance and explore new fields for its deep UV LEDs.

"To lead a market," Maruo said, "you always need to be thinking about the next move."

01-22-2015, 06:25 PM
These are the more harmful UV wavelengths and I would not want them over my tank or exposing myself or my daughter to them. I don't think they are necessary for coral growth etc. That's why there were glass shields over MH lights (in part). To filter out these more harmful wavelengths.

01-22-2015, 06:35 PM
Thats weird because we have been using UV led to cure uv inks in large format printers for a few years now

01-22-2015, 07:59 PM
Looks like the "UV" in those printers is just barely UVA at 395nm. Not the deep UV referred to above which is UVB at less than 315nm.

01-22-2015, 08:41 PM
^ Got it , thanks

01-22-2015, 08:55 PM
Ron is right! Even though MH pump out harmful UV the lights "should" have a UV glass on them.

I would not go near this!

Another reason why LED's that are UV only go down to about 380-390 much of which if not all is filtered out by the shield.

Its quite a myth that UV from aquarium lamps gets to the corals, the name UV came from T5 tubes where they adopted the term to market purple colour.

01-22-2015, 09:16 PM
Pretty cool to have a UV sterilizer without having to change the bulbs or at least be effective for up to 10 years.

01-22-2015, 09:22 PM
Yeah, if you had one emitter over a dedicated section of your sump (but shielded from the skimmer) then you could eradicate parasites with this UV led emitter instead of having to hook up a reg. UV sterilizer.

01-22-2015, 09:30 PM
Yep agreed for sterilization this is a leap forward.