At specific wavelengths, LEDs can inactivate the virus; A group of researchers has developed a way to achieve these wavelengths more efficiently.
LEDs are commonly used for sterilization — you may be using one to clean your electric toothbrush, for example. In the continued effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic, LEDs can also help inactivate SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
During the AIP Publishing Horizons — Energy Storage and Conversion virtual conference, which was held August 4-6, 2021, Tariq Jamil, Muhammad Usman, Habibullah Jamal, and Sibghatullah Khan, from the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology in Pakistan, discussed the development of an ultraviolet LED for potential disinfection of the coronavirus. Their presentation, “Designing 222 nm III-Nitride-based Far UVC LEDs for the disinfection of SARS-2 (COVID-19),” was available during the three-day conference.
The team designed far-ultraviolet LEDs (UV-C LEDs) at a targeted wavelength of 222 nanometers, chosen both for its ability to inactivate the virus and for being safe on human skin. They based their design on the material aluminum gallium nitride, part of a set of materials called III-nitrides which are efficient, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly.
The III-nitride UV-C LEDs are suitable for disinfecting medical equipment, personal protective equipment, and personal items like phones and pens, and can be easily integrated into clinical applications. Though the material is already in use in the fight against the coronavirus, the group’s technique further increases its efficiency.
They presented details on their approach for the design and possible fabrication of III-nitride UV-C LEDs at the virtual conference.