I-Corps: Airborne and Surface Disinfection Using Narrow Band Ultraviolet Light-Emitting Diodes

  • Nguyen, Hieu (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


The broader impact/commercial potential of this I-Corps project is the development of airborne and surface disinfection using narrow band ultraviolet light-emitting diodes (UV LEDs). UV emitters have a wide range of applications in airborne and surface disinfection, bio-medical and analytical instrumentation, fluorescence sensing, curing, and phototherapy. The traditional sources of UV lamps contain either mercury, xenon, argon, deuterium, or an excimer. All are considered unsatisfactory as they are bulky, fragile, expensive, low efficiency, have a limited life span, toxic, and only capable of emitting at a few specific wavelengths. Another alternative is the UV LED, which combines compactness with a nontoxic material composition, a lower power consumption, a quick response time, a long lifetime, and tunable emission across the entire UV region. Additionally, the nanowire form factor is ideal for integrating the light-emitter within the filter fabric for enhancing antibacterial and particulate filtration in air/surface purification and disinfection systems. Broad benefits to society including the new technologies, socioeconomic and environmental impacts as well as commercial potential are expected for such nanowire emitters.This I-Corps project is based on the development of high-performance narrow band UV LEDs for airborne and surface disinfection. The disinfection UV LED technology aims at inactivating the spreading of microorganisms living in indoor spaces otherwise people are at risk of infection. The current common disinfectants include chemical sprays and hand and body washing. These approaches fail to kill viruses, bacteria, fungi, and microbes in real time. The chemical substances usually contain contaminants and raise health concerns. Disinfection UVC LEDs, however, are a rapid tool for inactivation, and environmentally friendly. The narrow band UVC LEDs are produced using the following steps: 1) synthesizing nanowire UVC LED structures using molecular beam epitaxy; 2) integrating optical bandpass filters into the LEDs to attain narrow band LEDs; and 3) combining nanowire UVC LEDs with current white-light LEDs to form a smart disinfection lighting-system. Like visible color LEDs that have revolutionized lighting and display, UVC LEDs are set to provide disinfection solutions in both air and on surfaces.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Effective start/end date3/15/222/28/23


  • National Science Foundation: $50,000.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.