WASHINGTON — Research from North Carolina State University (NCSU) will allow the development of energy-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) devices that use ultraviolet (UV) light to kill bacteria and viruses, according to a press release.
The technology has a wide array of applications ranging from drinking water treatment to sterilizing surgical tools, the release stated.
"UV treatment utilizing LEDs would be more cost effective, energy efficient and longer lasting," said Dr. Ramón Collazo, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at NCSU 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," Collazo added.
According to the release, 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.
A team of researchers from North Carolina and Japan has developed a solution to the problem, determining that trace carbon atoms in the crystalline structure of the AlN substrate were responsible for absorbing most of the relevant UV light, the release noted.
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