UV nanowire LED may allow mass production

July 1, 2007
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST; Gaithersburg, MD), in collaboration with scientists from the University of Maryland (College Park) and Howard University (Washington, D.C.), have developed a technique to create highly efficient UV light-emitting diodes (LEDs) from nanowires.

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST; Gaithersburg, MD), in collaboration with scientists from the University of Maryland (College Park) and Howard University (Washington, D.C.), have developed a technique to create highly efficient UV light-emitting diodes (LEDs) from nanowires. Ultraviolet LEDs are particularly important for data-storage and biological-sensing devices, such as detectors for airborne pathogens. The assembly technique is well suited for scaling to commercial production, according to the researchers.

The team used batch-fabrication techniques such as photolithography, wet etching, and metal deposition. They aligned the nanowires using an electric field, eliminating the delicate and time-consuming task of placing each nanowire separately. A key feature of the LEDs, which emit at 365 nm, is that they are made from a single compound, gallium nitride (GaN), which enables them to operate at lower power than devices made of more than one material. The researchers say their method could be used to fabricate other nanowire structures and for applications requiring large-area nanoscale light sources. Contact Abishek Motayed at [email protected].

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