Dr. Chris Barty, UCI Distinguished Professor of physics & astronomy, is researching the use of diodes from Blu-ray digital video disc devices as deep-ultraviolet laser photon sources to rapidly disinfect surfaces and indoor air. Such technology would be less expensive than current medical- and scientific-grade systems and easily deployable. “If these sources are successful, I think you could build them into a mask and clean the air that’s coming in and out of you,” Barty said. “Or you could set things up in the air circulation ducts of major buildings, and the airflow that goes through could be sterilized.” They could also function in hand-held wand devices, he said, or as a “light curtain” through which people walk as they enter a room, exposing them to UV-C radiation that – at a wavelength between 200 and 260 nanometers – will destroy viruses and other pathogens but pose minimal risk to humans.
UCI engineers are answering the call for simple and affordable ventilators, using off-the-shelf parts and designing stopgap products to help fill the demand. Many are participating in the Bridge Ventilator Consortium, a team of physicians, engineers and biomedical device experts from UCI, the University of Texas, Virgin Orbit and Medline Industries.
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