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A new nanomaterial replaces mercury to produce UVC light

Thursday, 13 June 2019 08:11

New light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, have been created from a nanomaterial that emits ultraviolet light. It is the first time that someone creates ultraviolet light on a graphene surface.


According to its developers, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), it is a new electronic component that has the potential to become a commercial product. It is not toxic and could be cheaper, more stable and longer lasting than today’s fluorescent lamps (like the one in the image above). The advance is published in Nano Letters.


Although it is important to protect ourselves from excessive exposure to UV radiation from the sun, ultraviolet light also has very properties. This applies especially to UV light with short wavelengths of 100-280 nanometers, called UVC light, which is especially useful for its ability to destroy bacteria and viruses.


Luckily, the sun’s dangerous UVC rays are trapped by the ozone layer and oxygen and do not reach Earth. But it is possible to create UVC light, which can be used to clean surfaces and hospital equipment, or to purify water and air.


The problem today is that many UVC lamps contain mercury. The UN’s Minamata Convention, which entered into force in 2017, establishes measures to eliminate mercury mining and reduce the use of mercury. The convention was named after Japanese fishing village where the population was poisoned by mercury emissions from factory in the 1950s.


The objective is to commercialize the technology in 2022. (2019). Un nuevo nanomaterial reemplaza al mercurio para producir luz UVC. [online] Available at: [Accessed 31 May 2019].

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