Activated oxygen is the tri-atomic oxygen molecule otherwise known as O3, or ozone. Activated oxygen is an oxygen molecule that possesses more than normal energy as a result of input of energy. It is highly reactive gas with distinct smell that has high oxidation potential and short half life. This unstable gas readily reacts with organic substances and interacts with microbial membranes and denatures metabolic enzymes. This can be useful in the sanitization of waterborne or surface pathogens and neutralization of odor where the odor is caused organically. Upon release of its oxidizing potential, it reverts back to the stable form of oxygen molecule O2.
How is it formed?
One way to generate activated oxygen is by electrolysis of water. With electrolysis an electric potential is applied across two electrodes immersed in water. This will cause water (H2O) to dissociate into oxygen O2 and hydrogen H2. Water serves as the source of oxygen. Most electrode materials will preferentially create diatomic oxygen, but a few select materials will preferentially create tri-atomic oxygen. The principally favored materials are certain metal oxides such as PbO2 and SnO2, as well as platinum, carbon and boron doped diamond (BDD) as the anode.
3 H2O → O3 + 6 H+ + 6 e− :::: 6 H+ + 6 e− → 3 H2
Three molecules of water (H2O) are split at the anode, this causes six electrons to be removed through the electrical circuit. Six protons are also released and one molecule of O3 is produced. Meanwhile to maintain a balance of charge and to conserve mass, it is necessary that at the cathode, six protons combine with six electrons, to create three molecules of H2.
Another method of generating activated oxygen or ozone is to expose oxygen (O2) to electrical discharge or “corona discharge” (also known as surface discharge) using oxygen from the surrounding air or concentrated oxygen gas. This method is popular in large scale municipal water treatment facilities.
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