Public health pushes the needle on UV partnership opportunity

Aug. 21, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has perhaps heightened the profile of ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, but the demands of the application mean pushing UV LEDs beyond current limitations for more widespread and sustainable solutions.

I wrote back in February that the early stage of the coronavirus emergence in the US put me in mind of the LED market forecast, and the various environments in which UV LED measures could be put into place to help deactivate or destroy pathogens that we could encounter during casual contact.

In recent weeks, we’ve been encouraged to see positive outcomes from the LED and SSL sector, arising from collaboration and solid technical and clinical guidance on the development and use of UV germicidal irradiation (UVGI) products for surface or air disinfection such as two distinct UV-C-band (100280 nm) approaches recently publicized by passenger airlines United and JetBlue for disinfecting the complex surfaces of the flight deck and the aircraft cabin, respectively.

Now while we do not deny the validity of other UV-C sources such as conventional mercury discharge lamps or excimer lamps for UVGI, this is a publication established around the idea that the LED continues to advance into complex applications beyond the production of visible light. So we remain certain that as engineering and performance challenges are met and costs come down, the UV-C LED will become more established in disinfection systems. And certainly there are industry players who want to make that happen.

One to which I’m referring is Crystal IS, an Asahi Kasei subsidiary, and the UV Accelerator program it launched in late June. We have some new information to share about the program, which may compel some beautiful minds in our sector to participate. Crystal IS currently applies its proprietary UV-C LED technology to water disinfection. According to a recent media communication, the company wishes to work with “established startups to help with developing products that people can use to disinfect air and surfaces.” The company references the compact size and durability/longevity of LEDs as benefits for the air disinfection application, which admittedly conventional UV lamps lack.

Eligible organizations will have the chance to work with Crystal IS’ UV-C LEDs. The company says it is providing free LED samples already to universities in an expanded effort to develop new disinfection and purification products. The main components to note for applying include the following:

  • Applicants must have product ideas based on UV-C LED technology
  • Applicants must have product development capability
  • Crystal IS will provide technical guidance when necessary
  • Successful applicants will be supported with up to $250,000

Our objective for the UV Accelerator is to contribute directly to the growing needs of society for disinfection products in the fight against viruses like those that lead to COVID-19,” said Dr. Steven Berger, managing director at Asahi Kasei America, who will be leading the accelerator project. “Our approach is to invest in product developments that use UV-C LEDs in a safe and practical way. We have already received many interesting applications and look forward to start investing in some of these incredibly creative companies.”

Visit to download the application or to contact the program director for additional details.

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About the Author

Carrie Meadows | Editor-in-Chief, LEDs Magazine

Carrie Meadows has more than 20 years of experience in the publishing and media industry. She worked with the PennWell Technology Group for more than 17 years, having been part of the editorial staff at Solid State Technology, Microlithography World, Lightwave, Portable Design, CleanRooms, Laser Focus World, and Vision Systems Design before the group was acquired by current parent company Endeavor Business Media.

Meadows has received finalist recognition for LEDs Magazine in the FOLIO Eddie Awards, and has volunteered as a judge on several B2B editorial awards committees. She received a BA in English literature from Saint Anselm College, and earned thesis honors in the college's Geisel Library. Without the patience to sit down and write a book of her own, she has gladly undertaken the role of editor for the writings of friends and family.

Meadows enjoys living in the beautiful but sometimes unpredictable four seasons of the New England region, volunteering with an animal shelter, reading (of course), and walking with friends and extended "dog family" in her spare time.