LEds recently found a completely new use when a team of researchers decided to employ them on flexible metal foil. The task was undertaken by Ohio State University engineers who developed a foil based LED for portable Ultra Violet (UV) lights that can be used in purification of drinking water and sterilization of medical equipment. These can be of great use for soldiers and other people living in off-grid regions. The research was recently published in a known journal where the team explained how the LEDs were programmed to shine in high-energy “deep” end of UV spectrum. The university is planning to make these available for commercial use in coming times.
Deep UV light is already in use by humanitarian and military organizations. These are also used in numerous applications that range from biological agents detection to cuing plastics and other important materials. The only challenge with these lights is that these are little too heavy to be carried around easily. The associate professor of material science and engineering at the Ohio State, Robert Myers adds, “Right now, if you want to make deep ultraviolet light, you’ve got to use mercury lamps. Mercury is toxic and the lamps are bulky and electrically inefficient. LEDs, on the other hand, are really efficient, so if we could make UV LEDs that are safe and portable and cheap, we could make safe drinking water wherever we need it.”
During the research, he also discovered that till date these devices have yet been developed only at laboratory level where they use absolutely pure and rigid single-crystal semiconductors in form of substrates. A simple strategy that imposes a high cost barrier for industry. The foil-based nanotechnology used by Robert’s team can be used for large scale production of more economic and lighter version of these eco-friendly deep-UV LEDs. The developing team also roots for giving a new direction to this niche research field when it turns into a complete industry.
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