The Big Q: What is UV light?
The Big A: Ultraviolet light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, falling between x-rays and the visible light you see. Its wavelengths are shorter and more powerful than visible light.
UV light comes from the Sun: It comes in 3 types, based upon the specific wavelengths. UVA and UVB are around us any time we stand under the Sun. They are both natural disinfectants, killing viruses, bacteria, and our own cells indiscriminately by breaking down their DNA, though UVB is more aggressive in this regard than UVA. When you get a sunburn, the UV light has killed skin cells.
A personal, handheld device that emits high-intensity, ultraviolet light and kills the C-19 coronavirus has been discovered, but there is a shortage of transparent electrode materials that are needed for the UV devices. So, scientists must search for a new material with the right composition before they can move forward.
Once perfected, researchers believe this breakthrough discovery could be used in aerosols to kill C-19 coronavirus and all other virus’ by distributing it in the HVAC systems of buildings, as well as in theaters, sports arenas and public transportation vehicles, such as buses, subways and airplanes.
Finding a material with the right composition is Key to advancing UV LED performance.
The Penn State team, in collaboration with materials theorist from the University of Minnesota, recognized early on that the solution for the problem might be found in a recently discovered new class of transparent conductors.
When theoretical predictions pointed to the material strontium niobate, the researchers reached out to their Japanese collaborators to receive strontium niobate films and immediately tested their performance as UV transparent conductors. While these films held the promise of the theoretical predictions, a deposition method had to be found to integrate these films in a scalable way.
“We immediately tried to grow these films using the standard film-growth technique widely adopted in industry, called sputtering,” Team leader Joseph Roth, PhD said.
This a Key step towards technology maturation which makes it possible to integrate this new material into UV LEDs at low cost and high quantity. And this is what both believe is necessary.
“While our 1st motivation in developing UV transparent conductors was to build an economic solution for water disinfection, we now realize that this breakthrough discovery potentially offers a solution to deactivate C-19 in aerosols that might be distributed in HVAC systems of building,” Dr. Roth explains. Other areas of application for virus disinfection are densely and frequently populated areas, such as theatres, sports arenas and public transportation vehicles, such as buses, subways and airplanes.
Their findings appear online on 1 June, in the Nature Group publication Physics Communications. Co-authors along with Roth and Engel-Herbert, are Yoonsang Park, Alexej Pogrebnyakov and Venkatraman Gopalan of Penn State, Daichi Oka of Tohoku University, Yasushi Hirose and Tetsuya Hasegawa of the University of Tokyo and Arpita Paul and Turan Birol of the University of Minnesota. The paper, titled “SrNbO3 as a transparent conductor in the visible and ultraviolet spectra,” is accessible online at no charge.
This work was supported by the National Science Foundation through the DMREF program and a Graduate Research Fellowship as well as the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science KAKENHI program.
President Trump, wants to use UV light to treat and eliminate the C-19 coronavirus. Stay tuned…
Have a healthy weekend, Keep the Faith!