Covid-19 grant to research the use of blue light to sterilise environments


Scientists from AgResearch and Massey University will work with Christchurch firm Energylight Group Ltd to research light combinations that can be used to sanitise surfaces and circulating air.
 
The project has been granted $300,000 from the government’s COVID-19 Innovation Acceleration Fund.
 
Centre associate director, Dr Gale Brightwell, a senior scientist at AgResearch, says, “What we are looking to do is combine UVC light with blue light (from the visible light spectrum), through LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes), to significantly improve the speed and efficiency of antiviral treatments,” Dr Brightwell says.
 
Blue light LED is significantly more energy efficient than UVC LED, generates much less heat, and therefore requires less cooling. It means any product that delivers the light combination will be significantly smaller and cheaper. The blue light also reduces any risk to people from irradiation, having been safely used on wounds and for acne treatment. It also has better penetration and we will be testing its effectiveness on different materials such as plastics, glass, paper and fabrics.”
 
“Once we have proven the light combination is effective, there will be potential to move to develop and test prototype combinations for commercial light fittings that can sterilise surfaces, disinfect circulating air, and treat parcels/baggage – all with minimal management day to day. Examples could be for use in airports, shopping malls and public toilets.”
 
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