As COVID-19 continues to ravage global populations, the world is singularly focused on finding ways to battle the novel coronavirus. That includes the UC Santa Barbara’s Solid State Lighting & Energy Electronics Center (SSLEEC) and member companies.

Researchers there are developing ultraviolet LEDs that have the ability to decontaminate surfaces — and potentially air and water — that have come in contact with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

“One major application is in medical situations — the disinfection of personal protective equipment, surfaces, floors, within the HVAC systems, et cetera,” said materials doctoral researcher Christian Zollner.

Indeed, much attention has turned to the power of ultraviolet light to inactivate the novel coronavirus. As a technology, ultraviolet light disinfection has been around for a while. And while practical, large-scale efficacy against the spread of SARS-CoV-2 has yet to be shown. UV light shows a lot of promise.

SSLEEC member company Seoul Semiconductor in early April reported a “99.9% sterilization of coronavirus (COVID-19) in 30 seconds” with their UV LED products. Their technology currently is being adopted for automotive use, in UV LED lamps that sterilize the interior of unoccupied vehicles.

It’s worth noting that not all UV wavelengths are alike.

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has added another dimension. As the world races to find vaccines, therapies and cures for the disease, disinfection, decontamination and isolation are the few weapons we have to defend ourselves, and the solutions will need to be deployed worldwide.

In addition to UV-C for water sanitation purposes, UV-C light could be integrated into systems that turn on when no one is present, Zollner said.

“This would provide a low-cost, chemical-free and convenient way to sanitize public, retail, personal and medical spaces,” he said.

Source: Science Daily