LEDs could soon promise mercury-free UV
Categorie(s) : Education, News, Research
Published : 6 July 2020
What if LEDs could be used instead of mercury*-vapor lamps in a wide range of bacteria-killing UV devices? Researchers from Irig and Institut Néel recently made a major step toward mercury-free UV lamps. They successfully and significantly augmented a UV LED’s p-type doping level of aluminum nitride (AlN) by adding a small fraction of indium to the magnesium, the doping material. They also structured the AlN into nanowires, rather than thin layers, facilitating the relaxation of strain generated by the dopant. An AlN nanowire p-n junction was fabricated and two patents were filed.
This advance could lead to a solution to the main issue with today’s LED UVs: their low efficiency (the ratio of photons emitted to charge carriers injected). A PhD dissertation on research demonstrating the approach on an entire LED is forthcoming.
*These will ultimately be phased out under the Minimata Convention on Mercury (2017)