The characteristics of Pulsed Light provide countless opportunities to improve manufacturing processes and products in a variety of industries. Two attributes of XENON Pulsed Light are especially useful in process development—the fact that it replicates the full spectrum of sunlight, and its ability to deliver high energy fast without generating damaging heat. XENON works closely with product developers and process engineers to adapt Pulsed Light to each manufacturing process challenge. It is the accepted tool for next-generation process development.
In recent years, the development of new flexible displays has been directed at reducing manufacturing cost, material waste and processing time. High-energy exposure, using Pulsed Light from UV to near IR, achieves rapid curing with high uniformity and reliable production. Materials experience low heat during the curing process thus eliminating thermal damage to substrates.
Sunlight is a vital source of Vitamin D for many plants and animals. For example, it’s known to be a powerful promoter of bone health while it also reduces the risks of cancer, autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases.
Food producers are leveraging the sun-like characteristics of XENON Pulsed Light to enhance the Vitamin D content in foods, boosting their nutritional value and giving growers the opportunity to gain a competitive edge in today’s health-conscious marketplace. For example, research has found that Pulsed Light can enhance a Portobello mushroom enough to provide 100% of the Recommended Daily Allowance of Vitamin D. The process is safe and can be incorporated easily into in-line manufacturing processes.
The Dole Company has installed XENON Pulsed Light systems into manufacturing processes in their mushroom plants to enhance the natural Vitamin D properties of their food product. And more research is underway at Dole and other major food producers to find new ways to use light for natural food enhancement.
Germs on the exterior surface of a food product can be introduced into the food itself during packaging or sealing or during opening. While there are chemicals that can reduce this contamination—peroxides, for example—these toxins aren’t desirable additives to food purity, and are under new scrutiny by the FDA.
In response, food producers are turning to XENON Pulsed Light to quickly and safely eliminate harmful microorganisms. Pulsed Light can be used to kill microorganisms in meats, fruits and vegetables, and it helps ensure safe bottling and food packaging.
For example, XENON Pulsed Light can reduce decontamination in shell eggs by reducing the population of surface bacterium on the shells. Moreover, pulsed light can kill microorganisms without causing heat damage.
Food and Drug Administration Approves Pulsed UV Light
Code 21CFR179.41 issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Health and Human Services, approves the use of pulsed UV light in the production, processing and handling of food.
XENON has been leading in this market since introducing the first solar simulation lighting in the 1980s.
A major application in this area is the testing of photovoltaic cells and solar modules. Every PV cell has to be tested for a range of characteristics, and that can be very expensive. Our Pulsed Light saves money by using less energy than continuous light. In addition, as manufacturers ramp up their production speeds, XENON systems can keep pace, because they deliver high-peak pulse energy very quickly, resulting in faster test times.
These advantages also make Pulsed Light popular in other applications such as materials testing and photobiology.
We work with global manufacturers to engineer lighting that accelerates product testing and ensures product quality in process control applications. The instant on/off capability of XENON Pulsed Light enables either single-pulse or multi-pulse applications where controlled artificial sunlight is required. Pulsed lamps also remain off until testing is performed, thereby eliminating undesired heat buildup of cells and modules while reducing energy consumption.
Annealing is a controlled heating and cooling process used in many industries for treating materials such as metal and glass to alter its properties.
The key to annealing is precise control of energy generated and temperatures of the material under treatment. XENON Pulsed Light is unparalleled in its ability to deliver controlled energy, precisely matched to the application requirements.
A recent study published by the Royal Society of Chemistry in the U.K., titled "Rapid flash annealing of thermally reactive copolymers in a roll-to-roll process for polymer solar cells," showed that XENON Pulsed Light is capable of providing the energy needed to anneal a new kind of polymer solar cell in a roll-to-roll environment, without damaging the sensitive materials the cell is made of. This application potentially could result in more affordable, mass produced solar cells made of less expensive materials than is currently possible.
Other annealing applications where Pulsed Light is used include lens process in the optics industry, surface preparation in semiconductors, and sintering, or annealing, of conductive nanoparticles in printed electronics.