UV LEDs DevelopedCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: February 29, 2012 05:36PM
Inorganic LEDs are very common in the world today because they are cheap to make and very efficient. Not all LEDs are made equal though, as some colors are harder to produce than others, and, in general, the higher the frequency, the more difficult it is to produce. Researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory have found a means to make LEDs that operate in the ultraviolet range of the spectrum. Being past optical frequencies, this is a very difficult thing to achieve.
The researchers design is quite different than traditional LEDs though, which emit light at the interface of two semiconductors. Instead this uses an oxide-in-oxide design which can be produced within a beaker using simple solutions. This solution is then made into a glass with embedded nanocrystals. The result is a material capable of emitting light in the ultraviolet range while being as chemically inert and mechanically strong as glass.
Ultraviolet LEDs may prove very useful in medicine, as they can be implanted into the body to trigger the activation of certain drugs. As this technology can also be integrated into modern silicon chips as well, the potential of this technology is likely greater than any of the researchers can imagine at the moment.