Apr 22, 2020

UC Santa Barbara Researchers Use UV-LEDs to Fight COVID-19

Researchers at the UC Santa Barbara are using UV-LED lights to aid in the fight against COVID-19

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A UV-LED project at UC Santa Barbara is working on a new system to disinfect protective gear used in hospitals, in order to aid against the fight against COVID-19 (coronavirus). 

Researchers are hoping their UV-C technology can incentivize other companies to assist as well.

The project originally started with developing new ways to create more efficient lighting, reported CBS Los Angeles.

According to Chris Zollner, a UCSB PhD student researcher, UV-C can be used for water disinfection and air disinfection. If the National Institutes of Health confirms the technology works, it could be used to clean other objects.

The project has evolved over two decades on UCSB's campus, starting with developing lights for homes and winning the lead researcher a Nobel Prize. The project recently turned its focus to cleaning, according to KEYT.

"That's what we do. We increase the efficiency and the power in the lights. So as the efficiency and power of the lights increases, the time required to disinfect goes down. And in one case I saw they were able to disinfect an entire surface in 30 seconds," said Steve DenBaars, a UC Santa Barbara professor in the Materials Department, who is overseeing the project.

Work on the project is delayed by the pandemic and UCSB’s labs are also practicing social distancing and spacing out researchers’ access.

The work at UCSB is supported by many corporate partners, such as Seoul Semiconductor, which reported last week a 99.9% sterilization of coronavirus in 30 seconds with its UV LED products. The technology is currently used to make UV-LED lamps that sterilize the interior of unoccupied vehicles.

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