NRL researchers examining commercial UV rays to combat Covid-19

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 23, 2020 Published on October 23, 2020

The US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) researchers examined commercial ultraviolet (UV) sources in order to prevent the Covid-19 spread.

The Navy aimed to use viral disinfection tools to prevent Covid-19 on land and at sea. It also intended to establish a dedicated UV characterisation lab in five days to ensure safe introduction and effective operation of UV sources across the fleet.

The Navy is currently looking at UV-C band (UVC) light as a potential disinfection technique for niche applications against Covid-19, especially for materials that are loaded onto ships and general room disinfection on ships or shore facilities.

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Currently, there are many companies that offer products that can produce UV light. The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) requested NRL scientists to study and characterise the energy density, UV spectrum, and reliability of commercially available units.

The Navy began its tests in mid-April after NRL received 15 18-watt, hand-held UV wands from NAVSEA.

Since then, the team has tested nine different mercury and xenon-based UV sources with plans to evaluate both LED and plasma-based excimer sources.

One of the NRL researchers said in an official statement: “LED and plasma-based sources are emerging technologies, and represent the use of wavelengths not traditionally used for germicidal disinfection. Mercury sources have historically dominated the market.”

NRL’s study will further help in detecting situations where the use of UV provides sufficient viral disinfection at a particular energy level. It will also develop standard operating procedures to ensure safe UV operation for the Fleet, the paper noted.

The preliminary study was published in EurekAlert!

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Published on October 23, 2020
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