And then there was light

A new method for producing ultraviolet (UV) light has been patented by an international team of university researchers in New Jersey and Germany.

With colleagues at The Technical University in Munich, Rutgers-Newark physics professor Daniel Murnick has developed a system that provides a much more energy-efficient UV light source with higher power and lower maintenance than conventional UV light sources.

The UV light source developed by Murnick and colleagues uses a shorter wavelength than ambient UV light, sometimes called ‘deep UV or vacuum UV’. The largest application for the deep UV light technology is materials processing in the semiconductor industry, but deep UV light sources are also used for sterilisation of equipment in hospitals and the production of ozone for drinking water purification.

‘Using fundamental physics, we have found a different and more efficient way to produce UV light and small UV lamps,’ said Murnick. ‘This unique new UV lamp works so well because of an extremely efficient excitation of the gas molecules, which produces the UV light.’

Murnick noted that this new UV light source offers several benefits over traditional sources. The lamp remains near room temperature during operation, can be custom built to fit its intended use, and uses electricity more efficiently than current UV technologies. Ultraviolet light sources can run cool and produce high brightness and high power due to the high energy per photon of light, explained Murnick.

Professor Andreas Ulrich, Technical University, and Manfred Salvermoser, a research associate with Rutgers-Newark, collaborated on Murnick’s UV light research. Funding for the project was provided by the National Science Foundation and other sources.

The Rutgers University Office of Corporate Liaison and Technology Transfer is working to license the UV lamp for potential commercial markets.

The research team has been granted two patents so far, one for the basic technology and one for its laser application, and a third patent is pending for large area UV lamp technology.

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