Pulsed Light: Duct Tape of the Technology World

by | Dec 16, 2019

Ever since XENON asked me to write some blogs for them, I’ve been struggling with a simple question: how do I talk about a specialized technology that’s easy to explain, but it’s not obvious why you might need or want it?

You see, I’ve been writing about technology my whole career, and usually the challenge I face is to explain what a given technology does and how it works. Technology tends to be complicated and hard to understand.

But Pulsed Light is easy to explain. I can do it in a sentence: XENON Pulsed Light is rapid, high-energy bursts of light delivered to a target object while producing very little heat.

That’s it. Lots of energy, little heat, very fast. The hard part is explaining why you might need it.

It’s like trying to explain how Duct Tape* was able to help save the Apollo 13 astronauts (it really did!). I could say that Duct Tape is tough, flexible, and sticky—but would that tell you why it’s one of the most versatile inventions in human history?

Or take WD-40. I could say it’s viscous, lubricating, and penetrating. But that wouldn’t begin to explain why it’s so useful that people write articles about its hundreds of applications.

Pulsed Light is like that. In fields such as industry, safety, healthcare, and research, Pulsed Light seems able to do anything and everything. Including many things that nobody, including XENON, could have predicted.

For example, Pulsed Light is used by food processing companies to sanitize conveyors, sterilize food packaging and decontaminate foods, improving the safety of foods and even extending their shelf-life. It’s effective, clean, involves no chemicals, and works fast to support production speeds.

Many industries, from semiconductors to TV displays, use Pulsed Light in the UV spectrum to cure materials during manufacturing.

Looking for better nutrition in foods? Pulsed Light could be the answer. It’s FDA-approved to boost the nutritional value of mushrooms because it can provide full-spectrum light, just like the sun itself. Many growers and processors are already using it for this purpose.

Have you heard of printed electronics? It’s computer circuitry that’s printed using special conductive inks, allowing the creation of things like wearable computers and wafer-thin roll-up TV screens. Pulsed Light helps make it possible to quickly cure the ink without harming the plastic, cloth, or other material being printed on. No heat, no harm! And because it works rapidly, it can keep up with production speeds.

Even climate change is not too big a problem for Pulsed Light to help with. Its ability to deliver lots of energy in a short time allows researchers and manufacturers to accelerate development and testing of solar cells, a key technology in sustainable energy use.

The list goes on, but you get the idea. There’s a ridiculous range of applications for Pulsed Light, that seemingly have nothing in common. Except they all benefit from rapid, low-heat energy.

So, every few weeks, I and other bloggers who post here will be writing about these applications in more depth, and exploring new uses that are being discovered on a regular basis in universities and private research labs around the world. We hope to jog your thinking a bit, and maybe suggest ways you could use this versatile technology yourself.

If you can’t solve your problem with Duct Tape or WD-40, consider trying Pulsed Light. You can’t buy it at the local hardware store, and it hasn’t saved any astronauts (yet), but it’s one of those products that seem able to do just about anything.


* XENON has no relationship with these products, and their companies are not endorsing XENON. We mention them only as examples of popular, high-quality, versatile products.