Since the outbreak of the corona pandemic, the topic of disinfection has increasingly become the focus of attention. Again and again, ways are being sought to neutralize bacteria and, above all, viruses in a time-saving and comprehensive manner. UV light is one such method. Irradiation with UV light breaks down molecular structures and thus damages the genetic material of the pathogens. A development of resistance to UV light has not yet been detected, which makes UV light attractive as a long-term solution. At the moment, toxic mercury lamps are mainly used in this area. But the market is changing.
Virus-Free Thanks to Aluminium-Gallium Nitride
According to Professor Michael Kneiss from the Technical University of Berlin, UV LEDs have several forward-looking advantages. In an interview with science portal Physics, the scientist states that LEDs do not contain toxins. In addition, they are directly operational, i.e. run at maximum performance from activation. UV-C light is mainly needed to combat Covid. These LEDs are based on blue LEDs and are made with semiconductors made of aluminum gallium nitride (AlGaN). Unlike mercury lamps, the wavelengths of the UV-C LEDs can be precisely adjusted. This is necessary for the effective fight against Covid-19 viruses. As Nicole Wörner reports on elektroniknet.de: “Recent studies on the effectiveness of UV-C on SARS-CoV-2 have shown that UV light of a wavelength of about 250 to 280 nm is preferably absorbed by the virus’ RNA […].” * However, the efficiency of the UV-C LEDs can still be expanded, as only 6 percent of the energy used is converted into UV light.
Rapidly Increasing Demand
Although the disinfecting effect of UV light has been known for a long time, innovations are only given new impetus by the increasing interest during the pandemic. Commercial interest in the technology is growing immensely. The FAZ reports: “According to an estimate, the market will quadruple to 5 billion euros over the next ten years.” * Osram and Heraeus, for example, have already developed new product lines only for the UV-C LED sector. The AlGaN-based LEDs are already being used in hospitals and ambulances.
* translation TRADIUM