UV LED, an acronym for ultraviolet light-emitting diode, has witnessed incredible growth in recent years. With increasing demand for environmentally-friendly methods of producing UV light, UV LED technology has emerged as a viable option for a number of applications including printing, sterilization, detection, curing, and security. Thanks to UV LED’s extensive applicability, the market has been aggressively expanding. In 2015, the global UV LED technology market stood at $128 million, and, according to analysts at Technavio, is poised to record a CAGR close to 39% by 2020.
Why choose UV LED lights?
One major problem with traditional UV lamps is the presence of mercury. Mercury, as we know, has grave environmental consequences, and a cost-effective, mercury-free solution has always been the target of researchers around the globe. While a traditional UV lamp has around 20-200 mg of mercury, UV LED lights have none. Additionally, as compared with traditional lamps, the energy consumption and heat generation of UV LED bulbs is significantly less.
Applications of UV LED technology
Increased use of UV LED technology in the UV curing segment is a major driver of the global UV LED technology market. UV curing is a process whereby high intensity ultraviolet light is used to instantly dry or ‘cure’ coatings, inks or adhesives. This process is preferred over the traditional drying methods as the results are much better, rejection rates are low, there is superior bonding, and the entire process improves the solvency and scratch resistance of the product. UV LED is especially useful for curing purposes in the paper and wood coating industries as it is more energy-efficient, loses very little heat, contains no mercury, and can be manufactured with a much smaller footprint and far better optical design than traditional UV lamps.
When compared with photoelectric sensors and machine vision systems, UV sensors provide better detection of gas, labels or caps on bottles, oil or coolant leaks, and other materials. UV LED technology is also widely used in spectroscopy instruments, as it provides real-time monitoring during the entire treatment period, which helps healthcare professionals give the optimal dialysis dose to patients. UV LED technology also provides a non-invasive solution for determining the urea reduction ratio in patients with kidney failure. Recently, the technology is being used to treat and/or cure dermatological disorders like atopic skin, vitiligo, eczema, mycosis, and psoriasis.
Purification of air and water are also important applications of UV LED technology. The light emitted by UV-C LEDs effectively kills biological impurities such as viruses, bacteria, and protozoa. It is due to the efficiency and popularity of UV LEDs that the European Drinking Water Directive has recognized the use of UV LEDs over chemical disinfection in many legislative directives.
Some of the leading vendors in the global UV LED technology market include Philips Lumileds, Crystal IS, LG Innotek, SemiLEDs and Nichia.
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