Research Opens Doors To UV Disinfection Using LED Technology
(May 14, 2012) Research from North Carolina State University will allow the development of energy-efficient LED devices that use ultraviolet (UV) light to kill pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. The technology has a wide array of applications ranging from drinking-water treatment to sterilizing surgical tools.
“UV treatment utilizing LEDs would be more cost-effective, energy efficient and longer lasting,” says Dr. Ramón Collazo, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at NC State and lead author of a paper describing the research. “Our work would also allow for the development of robust and portable water-treatment technologies for use in developing countries.”
LEDs utilize aluminum nitride (AlN) as a semiconductor, because the material can handle a lot of power and create light in a wide spectrum of colors, particularly in the UV range. However, technologies that use AlN LEDs to create UV light have been severely limited because the substrates that served as the foundation for these semiconductors absorbed wavelengths of UV light that are crucial to applications in sterilization and water treatment technologies.