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Stellarray Receives NSF Grant to Develop Wastewater Treatment using Radiation Sources

19 August 2009

Austin, TX

Stellarray, Inc. announced today that it has received a Phase I SBIR award from the National Science Foundation to develop a new class of radiation sources for the safe, efficient and economical  treatment of difficult contaminants in municipal wastewater systems.   These “large area radiation sources” (LARS) are being made in X-ray versions for the treatment of solid streams and UV-C versions for the treatment of fluid streams.  Large flat panel and long, closed pipe sources are being developed for both spectra.  All versions are based on proprietary cathode array technology developed at Stellarray.

Mark Eaton, Stellarray’s President and CEO, said “LARS are a fundamentally new type of source in that they use cathode arrays to emit electrical current across a vacuum to make the radiation.  In X-ray LARS, we turn an X-ray tube inside out to make a wide panel source, cool the anode efficiently and get the kind of power needed to treat things like ascaris eggs.  In UV-C LARS, we use the same kind of cathodes to excite powder phosphors, so our approach is very different from mercury lamps or LEDs.   It’s still early days, but we’re already within range of the power efficiency of medium pressure mercury lamps used now for fluid streams.  Both the panels and the pipes can be made in a range of sizes, and both are modular, so we will offer a flexible solution for treatment system design.”

Dr. Michael Mueller (Ph.D. UC Berkeley) is Principal Investigator on the project and leads work on panel and pipe prototypes.  The Electronic Sterilization program under Dr. Suresh Pillai at Texas A & M University is responsible for dosimetry and the measurement of sterilization effectiveness.   Their work includes testing LARS pipes and panels against parasite eggs in wastewater sludge and a range of bacterial contaminants in fluids, as well as investigating the effectiveness of radiation in breaking down estrogen.

Stellarray develops flat panel radiation sources and products using them.   Plain X-ray panels are primarily for sterilization while pixilated X-ray panels are being developed for advanced imaging applications.  Basic panel technology has been developed with previous support from the Air Force SBIR program and the Advanced Technology Program of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.  For further information please contact Mark Eaton at (512) 997-7781 or eaton@stellar-micro.com.