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11 May 2017

UNIQUE project to develop mass-market UV-C LEDs for industrial disinfection applications

Funded by the Bavarian Ministry for Economic Affairs, Media, Energy and Technology and sponsored by VDI/VDE/IT, the UNIQUE project (which is running from July 2016 to June 2019) aims to develop high-power UV-C LEDs (with wavelengths of 260-280nm) as mercury-free light sources for industrial disinfection processes. Potential applications span domestic water purification to industrial disinfection of food packaging.

With the LEDs based on aluminum gallium nitride (AlGaN), meeting this objective requires fundamental material, technology and system developments along the entire value-added chain. The project hence involves five Bavarian companies and research institutions, coordinated by Osram Opto Semiconductors GmbH of Regensburg, Germany.

aprotec GmbH is responsible for the design of a special installation for producing aluminum nitride (AlN) volume crystals by evaporating AlN powder at over 2000°C. The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Device Technology (IISB) in Erlangen, Germany is in charge of developing and optimizing a process chain for producing AlN substrates, which includes everything from the synthesis of high-purity AlN powder and the production of AlN crystals to the manufacture of AlN substrates from the AlN crystals. Osram Opto is developing the UV-C LED chip, using the associated epitaxy and processing on the basis of the AlN substrate.

UV LED chips need the protection of a gas-tight package that offers a constant vacuum and hence a stable atmosphere for the chip. Developing a permanently vacuum-tight package from inorganic UV-stable materials and evaluating the structure and connections are the tasks of SCHOTT AG of Landshut, Germany. Finally, Dr Hönle AG is responsible for integrating the UV-C modules into a new disinfection system and conducting the appropriate system tests.

By developing a small, cost-effective, energy-efficient, mercury-free, long-life UV diode the project partners aim to gain a strong position in the growing market for UV LEDs and to use the results of the project to strengthen Bavaria as a location for business. “Our many years of experience in the development of mass-market opto semiconductor components will help make the UNIQUE project a success and contribute to bringing the prototype to market at a later date in volume production,” says Dr Hans-Jürgen Lugauer, head of UV development at Osram Opto. “Osram Opto is already active in the near-UV range. UNIQUE will extend our portfolio into the deep UV range, specifically for disinfection applications.”

Tags: Osram AlN UV-C LEDs

Visit:  www.osram-os.com

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