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2005-03-17
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Editorial: Water Water Everywhere
 
... When the recent Asian Tsunami disaster struck, I was in the midst of researching ultra violet (UV) LEDs for use in water purification applications as replacements for mercury vapor lamps. The disaster caused me to reflect on the challenges relief agencies face when having to provide safe drinking water...
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Commentary...
Water Water Everywhere

 
... When the recent Asian Tsunami disaster struck, I was in the midst of researching ultra violet (UV) LEDs for use in water purification applications as replacements for mercury vapor lamps. The disaster caused me to reflect on the challenges relief agencies face when having to provide safe drinking water...

View the full story at the bottom of the current news page, or if this is a back issue, go here...

Rohm Expects to Sell Brighter, Cheaper Zinc Oxide Blue LEDs
CompoundSemi News Staff

March 17, 2005...Rohm Co. of Osaka, Japan says it will sell its new, zinc oxide blue LED as soon as the 2007 fiscal year. The LED reportedly will be 10 times brighter than current technology and one-tenth the cost, according to a NikkeiNet Interactive acticle. LIGHTimes SecondPage members login for more. Guests can view membership details.

Deep UV LEDs Reach Major Milestone in Water Purification
Jo Ann McDonald

March 15, 2005...A team of incredible USA scientists and engineers have succeeded in demonstrating an LED-based flow-through UV water purification module. The technology has made major strides, but it still has not reached the realms of commercial feasibility for an ultraviolet LED-based solution for water purification and a replacement of mercury vapor lamp purification technology. The team consists of especially talented people from Sensor Electronic Technology, Inc. (SET) in Columbia, South Carolina, the Photonics and Microelectronics Lab at the University of South Carolina (USC) in Colombia, South Carolina, and Hydro-Photon Inc. (HPI) of Blue Hill, Maine. SET is headed by Remis Gaska and Michael Shur, USC is headed by Asif Khan, and HPI is headed by Miles Maiden. HPI is the creator and seller of a popular product called the "Steripen" that purifies water using mercury vapor lamp technology that currently sells for $149 and is used primarily by outdoor adventurers and travelers to places where the drinking water is questionable. HPI's next generation product will use an array of UV-LEDs, be significantly smaller and more compact, last longer, and sell for under $50.

The commercial application has been helping drive DARPA's SUVOS program, which is under the direction of Col. John Carrano, seen pictured third down on the right at our Blue 2003 conference where he presented the first results of the SUVOS. SET is the leading commercial supplier of deep UV LEDs with wavelength ranging from 255 to 340 nm and is the only commercial supplier of 265 nm to 320 nm LEDs which are the wavelengths required for efficient water purification. Working under a contract with the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the support of the SUVOS program, HPI has developed a bench-level prototype flow-through treatment chamber that incorporates 10 of the SET/USC 280 nanometer devices. The aluminum treatment chamber (a half cylinder with a volume of approximately 4 cubic centimeters) was fabricated to maximize UV reflectance and heat sink capacity. Commentary on the progress and potential of UV LEDs is included in our March 15 McDonald Report LIGHTimes editorial. LIGHTimes SecondPage members login for more. Guests can view membership details.

MII Wins EE Times' ACE Award
CompoundSemi News Staff

March 16, 2005...Molecular Imprints Inc. (MII) of Austin, Texas USA, a global manufacturer of nanolithography equipment, won EE Times’ Annual Creativity in Electronics (ACE) award for “Most Promising New Technology.” The company beat out IBM, Intel, and two others with their technology called Step and Flash Imprint Lithography (S-FIL) for creating the most compelling electronic component that is outstanding in technical design, has the greatest potential market impact, and demonstrates the company’s leadership in the field. Selected by a panel of leading technologists, educators, and executives from five finalists in each of 14 categories from an original pool of 340 entries, the ACE awards are for companies and products that make a significant contribution and demonstrate true innovation in their field. “We are proud to have been selected for this award. It is a compliment to our hard working staff that we have taken a laboratory technology and delivered it to the market in such a short time,” Norm Shumaker, MII’s president and CEO said. So congratulations to MII, a local company whose innovation we covered while completing a recent story on their latest microlithography system. Company News Release

Toyoda Gosei and TridonicAtco to Establish Joint Venture for Development and Production of White LEDs
CompoundSemi News Staff

March 14, 2005...Toyoda Gosei of Aichi, Japan and TridonicAtco of Zumtobel Group with headquarters in Dornbirn, Austria, are going to establish a joint venture based in Jennersdorf, Austria in April to advance the development of high-power white LEDs. The new joint venture will produce high-power LED packages and components for the general lighting market. LIGHTimes SecondPage members login for more. Guests can view membership details.

Permlight Introduces Digital Piracy Thwarting Technology for Cinemas
CompoundSemi News Staff

March 16, 2005...Permlight Products introduced their new LED anti-piracy system that projects invisible infra-red light to wash out any CCD camcorder or CCD camera images. The Enbryten line of Anti-Piracy products uses Osram Opto Semiconductor’s thin film infrared power LED technology to produce a harmless, and invisible, randomly generated pulse algorithm that is projected into movie audiences.

It’s estimated that the film industry looses about $4 billion per year from piracy who mostly digitally record new releases and burn low cost DVDs for the black market. The USA federal government has made it a felony to record copyrighted movies in cinemas. “Technologies from digital projectors to watermarking have been pursued to track down the origins of pirated films,” commented Manuel Lynch, President and CEO of Permlight Products. “None of these systems renders video cameras useless nor can they compete with the cost effectiveness and simplicity of the Enbryten Piracy system.” According to the company news release, each system is unique, so it is impossible to thwart. The system sells for $1,200 to $5,000, depending upon the size of the screen.

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Commentary & Perspective...

Water Water Everywhere

March 15, 2005...When the recent Asian Tsunami disaster struck, I was in the midst of researching ultra violet (UV) LEDs for use in water purification applications as replacements for mercury vapor lamps. The disaster caused me to reflect on the challenges relief agencies face when having to provide safe drinking water for victims of such difficult situations. The classic Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem, as cited in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner haunted me, and still does...

"Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink."

We've just begun to discuss the topic of how the solid state lighting industry will help produce reliably safe, good tasting drinking water. Leading the drive to safer water through SSL solutions is a cadre of highly innovative, caring catalysts all of whom are based in the USA. The latest progress is reported in a news story titled Deep UV LEDs Reach Major Milestone in Water Purification.

Hydro-Photon's SteriPEN product, which currently uses mercury vapor as the source, is on one end of the applications spectrum. Priced at $149, it sells well in high end catalogs. Once the power of the UV LEDs becomes adaquate enough (and levels are improving rapidly), the follow-on version will likely use about 10 UV LEDs and will undoubtedly be produced by SET (Sensor Electronic Technology Inc.) given that company is apparently well ahead of a tiny pack of potential suppliers. Most importantly, the resulting UV LED-based next gen version will likely be priced at only $49. Not only will it cost a third as much as today's product, it will be significantly smaller at about the size of a real pen. In addition, the light source will last longer.

SET has the production capability to provide everything a systems integrator like Miles Maiden, CEO and CTO of Hydro-Photon, needs once those power levels have been reached. Miles has been working very closely with Asif Khan's group at University of South Carolina (USC) and with Remis Gaska, President of SET. SET was a spinoff of Asif's USC group. Asif is one of the great GaN pioneers, having originally founded APA Optics, which if I recall correctly, was the first commercial development company of GaN based electronic devices. Asif eventually found a permanent home at USC in South Carolina and has put together a truly world class GaN group which has benefited from Asif's real commercial experience. Paul Maruska, the original inventor of the GaN on sapphire blue LED, is included in the group. (Ref: our Jan 16th article and Paul's pictorial history of GaN LEDs) who tried valiantly with Jacques Pankove to get RCA to bring GaN blue LEDs to market back in the 1960s.

So here we are today, looking forward to tomorrow. From pens, the next step will be backpacks with in-line purification systems, and eventually home and community size systems that combine solar power capabilities. Whereas relief agencies and municipal rescue efforts now truck in huge water purification mercury vapor UV systems during a disaster, they'd likely welcome smaller, less expensive UV LED based systems. Water itself can't take up less room or weigh less, but the systems that purify it certainly can. One of the added virtues of UV LED purification is that it doesn't change the taste of water the way chlorine does, but it can do everything chlorine can, and then some.

Huge water treatment plants currently operating in municipalities are on the other end of the application scale. GE's Michael Sutsko described the field extremely well at our Wide Bandgap Business Opportunities Workshop in December at CS Outlook. Those who attended or have access to the agenda can read Michael's talk, titled: Ultraviolet Disinfection and Photolytic Applications... Market Overview & Advantages of Solid State Sources. In addition to disinfection (water and air), Michael outlined other excellent opportunities for photolysis (TOC, ozone, chlorine), advanced oxidation technology, curing (inks, adhesives, dental, medical, CAM), phosphor-based white LEDs, medical (bilirubin treatment), cosmetics, sensors, and deep UV photo lithography. Michael used to work in the water purification field, so he was particularly knowledgeable and sharing about that sector. One of the application areas that he projected to be especially lucrative would be the beverage business from soft drinks to beer to bottled water. UV LEDs would not only purify the water, but high dose UV treatment could be used to remove chlorine and chloramines from incoming water.

Ever since DARPA program manager John Carrano introduced me to the SUVOS program at our first BLUE event in 2003 in Dallas, I've been fascinated with how this technology could be applied to environmental areas that help all humans, not just soldiers. At that same gathering, the predecessor of our upcoming BLUE 2005 in Taiwan May 16-18, UCSB's Shuji Nakamura and Steve DenBaars provided an update of what was then the most impressive UV LED results. They were the first to provide Miles Maiden with test devices that demonstrated the original proof of concept that Hydro-Photon and the SET/USC team has recently topped. Now attached to a commercial supplier of finished devices, it shouldn't be long before Hydro-Photon is able to take the first step into commercial production. That's exciting! First a pen, and eventually municipal treatment plants, and hopefully portable systems that agencies like UNICEF and the Red Cross can use in a disaster or bring to people everywhere who routinely suffer from a shortage of safe drinking water. This is a hugely important and virtually untapped sector for SSLighting industry professionals, and progress thus far, is greather than many may realize.

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