Bacteria growth on surfaces (i.e. biofilms) causes serious human health and public perception concerns and impacts many engineering processes. These pathogens thrive in biofilms found in water distribution, storage systems, and medical equipment (e.g., catheters, endoscopes, endotracheal intubation devices, etc.). Biofilms also increase water pressure and cost requirements to treat water and cause damage to valves and sensors.
Our patent-pending optical fibers emit germicidal ultraviolet light along their entire length, like a glowstick, and eliminates biofilm growth. We modified traditional optical fibers which are extremely thin and flexible glass used to guide light through kilometers of distance. Now light that is launched on one end of the optical fiber is scattered out controllably along the length. The resulting glowing optical fiber (GOF) becomes a flexible germicidal “glowstick” that is stable in water and can be inserted into narrow-diameter channels such as piping or tubing.
Our optical fibers can control biofilm in narrow channels that exist in small diameter tubings such as in-home drinking water and medical devices. One fiber can obtain a 3 cm diameter of biofilm prevention. Optical Waters can fabricate arrays of multiple fibers or weave them into fabric to meet any customer's disinfection needs.