In 1997, we had a vision of cleaner air.
We’ve been working on it ever since.

An image showing the history of the development of products using nanoe™ technology over 20 years

History of devices to generate hydroxyl radicals contained in water

Background

The origin of hydroxyl radicals contained in water

It all began in 1997. Working on a project of the former Ministry of International Trade and Industry on purification of air in living environments, Panasonic researchers became interested in a technology for generating hydroxyl radicals contained in water. They wondered if tiny water particles could provide a new way to clean air. And in 2001, a team of just two researchers set to work. 

This was entirely new technology, and it presented significant challenges. The team needed to develop verification methods and evaluation techniques from the ground up, and the electrical discharge phenomenon at the core of the process was difficult to control. The work continued without results for some time, and at one point the research was nearly abandoned. However, the research director at the time decided to persevere, saying, “Let’s keep at it for one more year!” Panasonic devotion to technology saved the project. And finally, in 2003, the team succeeded in creating nano-sized water particles that purify the air. The technology of hydroxyl radicals contained in water was born.

The ongoing challenge of improving air quality

Work to advance the technology of hydroxyl radicals contained in water continues today. One key focus is the verification of effects in inhibiting harmful impacts on the human body of pathogenic microorganisms (bacteria, mould, and viruses) and allergens, and the breaking down of PM 2.5 particles.

The ongoing challenge of improving air quality

For example, in 2009, with the help of an independent testing organisation, Panasonic demonstrated the effect of hydroxyl radicals contained in water against bird flu and new strains of influenza. And in 2012, in collaboration with an independent testing organisation in Germany, we conducted virus clearance testing that showed the effectiveness of the technology against the four types of viruses (with and without envelope, DNA type and RNA type). Based on this we announced that hydroxyl radicals contained in water can be expected to have an inhibitory effect on new, unknown viruses. While it had already seemed clear that the activity of hydroxyl radicals contained in water could be expected to inhibit the activity of viruses, this verification was a highly significant milestone.

Another key focus of our ongoing research is efforts to increase the effect of hydroxyl radicals contained in water by increasing the concentration of radicals generated. Working to address the growing risks associated with air quality the world faces today, Panasonic is pressing forward with its research into more advanced devices.

The need for air quality improvement knows no borders. Panasonic will continue to pursue the potential of hydroxyl radicals contained in water, applying technology to enhance air quality and contribute to the health and quality of life of people worldwide.

Timeline

1997

Research into purification of air in living environments begins

2001

Development of technology of hydroxyl radicals contained in water begins

2002

Trial production of prototype to generate hydroxyl radicals contained in water and testing begin

2003

Completion of device to generate hydroxyl radicals contained in water [480] (water refill type)

2005

Completion of device to generate hydroxyl radicals contained in water [480] (Peltier type)

2008

Development of next-generation highly reactive device to generate hydroxyl radicals contained in water begins

2009

Inhibitory effect on viruses and bacteria and reduction of pesticide residues verified

Inhibitory effect on adhering and airborne Staphylococcus aureus and bacteriophage Φχ174 viruses verified

Inhibitory effect on swine-origin influenza virus verified

An image indicating that a virus is inhibited by hydroxyl radicals
2010

Denaturing of proteins in pollens found year around verified

2011

Completion of a smaller device that generates more hydroxyl radicals (4th-generation Peltier type)

Inhibitory effect on mould verified

An image of mould
2012

Inhibitory effect on viruses verified by virus clearance test

Inhibitory effect on pet-related allergens, bacteria, mould, and viruses verified

2014

Decomposition of PM 2.5 components and inhibition of growth of mould attached to Yellow Sand verified

An image of PM 2.5 and a city shrouded in Yellow Sand
2016

Inhibitory effect on viruses verified by virus clearance test

Inhibitory effect on pet-related allergens, bacteria, mould, and viruses verified

2020

Verification of inhibitory effect on novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)

> Press release

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