Latvian scientists study new UV lamps for disinfection

Latvian University (LU) Researcher Edgars Butanovs together with Latvian and Swedish colleagues is working with gallium oxide, which is currently one of the most studied materials in the world, Latvian Television reported November 15.

Butanovs is studying how gallium oxide can be placed on light-emitting diodes in a very thin layer, and how such diodes could be used to destroy various viruses and bacteria in the future.

“Gallium oxide is one of the most actively studied materials in the last three or four years. It has many interesting applications in electronics and optoelectronics, for example, high-powered electronic circuits in electric cars,” explained Butanovs.

Gallium oxide (Ga2O3) could also come in handy in fighting various viruses, bacteria. If the COVID-19 pandemic continues for a long time, gallium might become one of the elements to reduce the spread of this virus. A study on how gallium oxide could be incorporated into light-emitting diodes has recently been launched in collaboration with colleagues from Sweden.

An installation intended for condensation of metallic vapors was used earlier in the Institute for the manufacture of gallium nitride diodes. But over the last year, plans for gallium oxide have also started to be produced.

“The process is relatively complicated. We have gaseous reagents that we enter into a reactor that is heated at 800-1000 degrees. On this base where we want to apply thin layers, a chemical reaction is taking place and the gaseous reagents react to the base. We get a high-quality layer in several hours,” the researcher described the process.

This results in high-quality and high-powered ultraviolet radiation that can disinfect surfaces.

Although this technology is currently new and will take years to complete and introduce it, it will make  it easy to disinfect windows, handles, surgical instruments. In addition, gallium oxide will be easily accessible to the industry. It is expected to get a lot of attention.

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