Scientists make breakthrough with UV-emitting gadgets that reportedly can kill coronavirus on contact

iStock/alvintus(PENNSYLVANIA) — Scientists at Penn State and the University of Minnesota say they’ve developed new tech that could lead to hand-held lights everyone can use to kill COVID-19. 

Currently, UV light-emitting machines are employed destroy the virus and others like it. However, these are often bulky machines that suffer from a short battery life.  New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority has begun using these devices to disinfect subway cars and other facilities in light of the pandemic, but these are power-sapping mounted lamps, the bulbs of which contain mercury.  What’s more, the boxy units and necessary power cables aren’t terribly portable.

However, according to the researchers’ work published in the journal Physics Communications, they’ve employed a newly discovered class of transparent conductors — a material called strontium niobate — that when coupled with energy efficient UV LEDs, wiped out the virus.

This battery-friendly breakthrough could be employed to disinfect entire theaters and sports stadiums, and someday could lead to a pocket-sized light disinfectant units for personal use.

Joseph Roth, doctoral candidate in Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State, said, “While our first motivation in developing UV transparent conductors was to build an economic solution for water disinfection, we now realize that this breakthrough discovery potentially offers a solution to deactivate COVID-19 in aerosols that might be distributed in HVAC systems of buildings.” 

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