Founded in 2007, Eden Park Illuminationa is a fast-growing lighting technology company in Champaign, IL, that has commercialized the microplasma technology of MNTL Research Professor J. Gary Eden and ECE Adjunct Associate Professor Sung-Jin Park. This novel technology has resulted in high-quality, energy-efficient lamps having no mercury—a toxic substance found in some alternate lighting sources.
The company designs and manufactures square, ultra-thin (5 mm thick) lamps that emit uniform, soft glow light for the professional cinematography and videography industries. Each planar lighting panel is made of an array of thousands of microcavities in a thin dielectric barrier structure. As voltage is applied, plasma forms in each gas-filled cavity, producing a panel of light with consistent color and intensity. The panel is coated internally with a thin phosphor layer to achieve a high color-rendering index (CRI).
Using that same technology, the company also manufactures flat, high power, ultraviolet-emitting microcavity plasma lamps made from fused silica. Powers above 10 watts are available from 4” x 4” (100 square cm) lamps. “This power is more than an order of magnitude higher than anything that has existed in the deep ultraviolet,” said Eden, who is the company’s chief scientific officer. “These lamps are making possible processes that were impossible before, such as cleaning water and making deionized water.”
According to Eden Park Illumination cofounder Sung-Jin Park, the company maintains close ties to MNTL. “Microplasma technology depends on very precise processing, so we prefer to use the lab’s state-of-the-art equipment to give us that precision,” said Park, who serves as vice president of science. “MNTL [cleanroom] staff can also help us with new techniques.”
Added Eden: “Our connection to MNTL is vital. The facility really is a crown jewel of the campus because of its capabilities, and the staff are critical because they maintain the quality of the lab’s sophisticated tools.”
As for the company’s future, Eden and Park are committed to keeping its R&D efforts in the Champaign area near campus. “Philosophically, I owe a huge debt to the university and I am fortunate to have worked here for virtually all of my professional career,” said Eden, who earned his doctorate from Illinois in 1976. “We are committed to doing all we can to grow high-tech businesses in this area.”
Eden and Park are also the co-founders of EP Purification, a start-up company located in the U of I’s EnterpriseWorks incubator facility that uses microchannel plasma technology to develop small ozone generators capable of disinfecting water.