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Chinese Researchers Use Copper Oxide Crystals to Make Germ Killing LEDs in the Full Visible Light Spectrum Range

Disinfection applications are usually associated with UV LEDs, but one research team from China led by Chaowen Xue has recently demonstrated an alternative solution to ridding most bacteria with visible light range LEDs.

According to the abstract of the research team’s paper submitted to the prestigious scientific journalApplied Material Science, the team used 3D printing technology and demonstrated it was capable to make a full spectrum visible light activated antibacterial system by combining the LED with 500 nm copper oxide crystals.

The team was able to improve antibacterial ratios for both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria with six different color LED lamps. The LED was designed with non-woven fabric as a carrier for the carbon oxide crystals.

Paired with the team’s self-developed app, the poly (ethylene terephthalate) filmloaded with the carbon oxide cyrstals dispalyed significant antibacterial property, which could potentially be applied in touch screens.

For the full abstract please see below:

Assisted with 3D printing technology, we proposed and demonstrated a full spectrum visible light activated antibacterial system by using the combination between 500 nm sized Cu2O crystals and light-emitting diode (LED) lamps. Further improved antibacterial ratios were achieved, for the first time, than pure Cu2O for both Gram-positive bacteria and Gram-negative bacteria among all of the six different colour LED lamps. For practical antibacterial applications, we revealed that the non-woven fabric could act as excellent carrier for Cu2O crystals and provide impressive antibacterial performance. Furthermore, integrated with our self-developed app, the poly (ethylene terephthalate) film loaded with Cu2O crystals also showed significant antibacterial property, thus making it possible to be applied in field of touch screen. The present research not only provided a healthier alternative to traditional ultraviolet based sterilization, but also opened an auto response manner to decrease the rate of microbial contamination on billions of touch screen devices.


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