How a Home-grown Start-up Created a Next-gen Air Sanitiser

A*STAR spin-off Plasma Science used tech to transform the clean air market with its range of air sanitiser and is now set to do the same in healthcare, agriculture and building management systems.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, co-founders Samuel Teh and A*STAR scientists Dr Ady Suwardi, Dr Davy Cheong and Dr Ivan Tan saw potential in the clean air market for air sanitisers that not only purify the air, but also eliminate viruses such as coronaviruses and bacteria.

The challenge:

At that time, the technologies in the market were not able to quickly purify the air of aerosols fast enough to prevent virus transmission effectively. It took up to two to three hours to disinfect the air, and mainly in a lab setting.

Samuel Teh, Co-founder of Plasma Science

Through a Research Collaboration Agreement (RCA), the engineers at Plasma Science teamed up with scientists at A*STAR’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) to look for a scientific-backed and well-validated solution to the problem.

The scientists decided to explore the efficacy of cold-plasma technology in killing viruses and bacteria, including coronaviruses, by designing experiments and tests to validate its performance.

The result was their Trident series of air sanitisers, an innovative line up of products that utilises a “Safe Air Dome” technology that removes aerosols in the air to prevent the transmission of infections, and disinfects up to 99.99% of bacteria and viruses within minutes of usage.

Unlike the HEPA filters in the market that needed to be replaced every few months, Plasma Science’s products featured washable filters that lower both energy consumption and maintenance costs for the consumer.

The close collaboration with A*STAR helped to accelerate the product’s time-to-market, taking just two years from the start of its research and development in 2020 to its first commercial product launch in June 2022.

next-gen air sanitiser article detail

Plasma Science team receiving the “Most Promising Start-Up” award at the Emerging Enterprise Awards 2022.

The company’s products have found good traction commercially in a competitive market, selling over 1,000 units of air sanitisers since its launch. Plasma Science has since gone on to receive “Most Promising Start-Up” award at the annual Emerging Enterprise Awards 2022.


The “Safe Air Dome” technology developed by Plasma Science was the outcome of a synergistic collaboration between the A*STAR scientists and the engineering expertise of Teh and his industry partners.

Says Teh, “A*STAR provided the know-how, while we developed the technology for mass production by ensuring that the design was suitable for manufacturing. Along the way, we had to resolve various issues, but we complemented each other well and it was a fruitful partnership. We enjoyed the entire collaborative process.”

The proprietary technology that resulted utilises a unique killing action of cold plasma ions, and calibrated advanced graphene electrostatic (Bio-CAGE, in short) plates, to “hunt, catch and kill” viruses, bacteria, and other microbial species, in addition to removing allergens, odour, mould and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air.

These qualities set it apart from its competitors. The Trident air sanitisers demonstrate a far superior Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) per cubic foot per minute and a proven technology “kill rate” with reduction of up to 99.99% of viruses in the room. It also provides larger room coverage, consumes less power and is easy to maintain.


  • Research Collaboration Agreement: Under the RCA model, A*STAR and collaborators jointly developed and built the purification system and validated its performance.


With rising airborne infections and growing urban pollution levels, the global air purifier market is expected to experience significant growth.

“In Singapore, we have tripled our revenue this year, achieving a million dollars in the first half of the year. Next year, we are setting our sights on regional markets in Southeast Asia to launch our products, as well as in Europe, Australia and the US,” says Teh.


Trident air sanitisers being deployed in Livingstone Health Holding clinics

For example, local healthcare provider Livingstone Health Holdings will be rolling out Plasma Science’s medical grade air sanitisers in their clinics soon. They are also looking to diversify their business by entering partnerships with Changi Airport Group, childcare centres, and the retrofitting of centralised air conditioning in buildings

“We are already looking at developing solutions for agriculture, food storage and even medical technology,” Samuel says.

To keep up with the growing demand, Plasma Science is targeting to expand their local team in the areas of R&D, engineering, customer service and business development.

Moving forward, the company is already deep into the next phase of development, working closely with A*STAR scientists to pioneer cutting-edge technologies in new products. In fact, Samuel reveals that 20% of the company’s profit is currently being ploughed back into R&D.

Because we are going into so many different areas, a large part of our growth and development will depend on R&D and our partnership with A*STAR.

Samuel Teh