High-Efficiency, Deep-UV Light-Emitting Diodes
Develop a deep ultraviolet light emitting diode (LED) as a UV light source for treating drinking and waste water.
Sponsor: HEXATECH, INC.991 Aviation Pkwy
Morrisville, NC 27560
High-energy forms of ultraviolet (UV) light, or "deep UV" light, are used by water treatment companies to kill microorganisms in drinking and waste water. Present UV sources for these applications are mercury-based UV-light tubes. HexaTech has proposed a project to develop deep-UV light emitting diodes (LEDs) that would be environmentally friendly and would last five to 10 times longer than the existing mercury-based tubes. Although several research groups have demonstrated light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with wavelengths as short as 210 nm (in the deep UV), they convert less than one percent of the applied electrical energy into UV light. Based on the accumulated findings of their work and that of others, Hexatech will address the main technical obstacles to the production of efficient, deep-UV LEDs. The technical plan is based on a novel semiconductor device based on an aluminum nitride (AlN) substrate with aluminum gallium nitride (AlGaN) layers. Making the devices takes advantage of novel processes for growing the AlGaN layers. The immediate application for the new UV LED devices will be to replace existing mercury-based UV tubes for water treatment. Hexatech estimates a deep-UV LED can address a $78 million world-wide market for the initial replacement of UV tubes in water treatment companies, with a re-occurring market of $15.6 million per year, beginning five years after the first UV-LED systems are installed.