The overall concept of SμLED patch. (Credit: KAIST)

A surface-lighting microLED patch has been developed that inhibits UV-induced melanogenesis. The research team fabricated the skin-attachable surface-lighting microLED (SμLED, 4 × 4 cm2) patch by utilizing a thousand microLED chips and silica-embedded light diffusion layer. The 100 μm-sized LED chips are vertically interconnected for high flexibility and low heat generation, allowing its long-term operation on the human skin.

The team confirmed melanogenesis inhibition by irradiating the SμLED patch and the conventional LED (CLED) on the artificial human skin and mice dorsal skin. The SμLED treated groups of human cells and mouse tissues showed minimal epidermal phototoxicity and consistently effective reduction in synthesized melanin, compared to CLED-treated groups. In addition, significant suppression of proteins/catalysts expression involved in melanin synthesis such as microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF), Melan-A, and tyrosinase was verified.

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