Generating State Atomic Oxygen Using Visible Light

SLU ID 18-026 | Visible Light Initiated Photogeneration of Ground State Atomic Oxygen in Solution

Intellectual Property Status


  • Proprietary non-patented intellectual property
  • Know-how based
  • Licensee
  • Development partner
  • Commercial partner
  • Investment
  • University spin out


Atomic oxygen, denoted O(3P), is an extremely reactive allotrope of oxygen as the single atoms have a high affinity for bonding to nearby molecules. O(3P) does not exist naturally for very long on the surface of earth. However, in space it is plentiful due to the extreme amounts of ultraviolet light that breaks apart the bonds between diatomic oxygen. Because of its high energy and reactive nature, atomic oxygen has several uses including texturing and removing bacterial debris from biomedical implants, creating silicon seals, enhancing air and spacecraft materials, restoring artwork, and potentially being useful in chemotherapy.


Researchers at Saint Louis University have conceived a way to generate ground state atomic oxygen molecules in solution without the use of ultraviolet light.


The potential advantages of this technology over existing solutions include:

  • Minimize the need for ultraviolet light to create atomic oxygen.
  • Minimize impediments to using atomic oxygen in chemotherapy.
  • Minimize the cost of creating atomic oxygen.
  • Minimize the complexity of processes required to produce atomic oxygen.
  • Increase the potential applications for atomic oxygen.


Potential applications of this technology include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Use in studying biological mechanisms and pathways
  • Texturing biomedical implants
  • Sterilization and bacterial debris removal
  • Creation of silicon seals
  • Art restoration
  • Enhancing air and spacecraft materials


Saint Louis University is seeking partners to further develop and commercialize this technology.