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NCKU inventions win gold, silver in Geneva

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A research team led by Wen-Chau Liu, distinguished professor at the Institute of Microelectronics and director of the High-speed Devices Lab at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), has taken home one gold and one silver medal at the 41st Swiss Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions.

Liu's team received the prizes for its ZnO Nanostructure-Based Gas Sensors and High-Power GaN-Based Light Emitting Diodes with a 3D-PhC Reflector Structure, respectively.

The gold winner, ZnO Nanostructure-Based Gas Sensors, is a novel device that detects ammonia gas, which involves the transformation of cross-linked ZnO-nanorods configuration and the decoration of Pt nanoparticles.

Ammonia is a dangerous gas and the value of ammonia concentration for immediate danger to life is 300 parts per million, and its lowest explosive limit is 15 percent.

The device, about the size of half a NT$10 coin, is smaller than other ammonia sensors, is low on power consumption (less than 1 megawatt), and is cheap to operate (lower than NT$1). It is also 97 times more sensitive than most other sensors.

Liu noted that the device can be applied to chemical plant ammonia leak detection, semiconductor process ammonia leak detection, biochemical technology leakage, agricultural fertilizers, refrigeration and other industrial processes.

The silver-winning GaN-Based LED with 3D-PhC Reflector Structure is a high-powered LED in which a self-assembled 100-nanometer SiO2 nanosphere monolayer is coated to enhance the brightness.

It is smaller than a quarter of a NT$5 coin, has a lifetime of up to five years, and saves on energy, according to Liou Jian-kai, a student in Liu's team.

Compared with the existing high-power LEDs, the light output power, luminous flux, and illuminance of the newly innovated LEDs could be significantly improved by up to 20 percent without the degradation of electrical properties, Liou said.

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