Researchers at Columbia University have been working on such uses for years, and the present pandemic might verify the value of their efforts.
UVC lamps have lengthy been used to kill bacteria, viruses and moulds, notably in hospitals and within the food-processing business. Because the coronavirus pandemic knocks world economies on their heels, this technology is experiencing a boom.
However, UVC (for Ultraviolet-C) rays are harmful, causing skin cancer and eye issues, and can be used when nobody is present.
The New York subway system, following the example of Chinese subways, plans to make use of ultraviolet lamps to disinfect its trains, however only during nighttime closures.
A team at Columbia’s Center for Radiological Research is experimenting with so-called far-UVC, rays whose wavelength of 222 nanometers makes them safe for humans however still deadly to viruses, said the centre’s director, David Brenner.
At those frequencies, he explained, the rays cannot penetrate the surface of the skin nor of the eye.
Which means they might be utilized in closed and crowded areas where contamination risks run high, with doubtlessly huge promise to be used during the present pandemic.
In late April, President Trump offered confusing remarks about projecting ultraviolet rays into people’s bodies to kill the coronavirus.
He appeared to be inspired by federal analysis on the effects of natural light on the virus—but pure light has no UVC rays.