UV LED Innovation For COVID-19 Decontamination
Ultraviolet (UV) light is known to be a useful decontamination tool in healthcare settings. Earlier this year, Duke Hospitals announced it was using a form of UV light known as UVC to fight the transmission of superbugs like MRSA that can remain in patient rooms and infect staff and other patients. UVC light has been so effective in the past that researchers are now looking at it as a tool to decontaminate infected surfaces and combat the spread of COVID-19 in hospitals, public transit and more.
There has been a resurgence of interest and utilization of UV light across the U.S. Here’s just a snapshot of some of the places that are using variations of these technologies today:
- The New York City Metro Transit Authority (MTA) has begun using UVC light to enhance its sanitization program on subways and buses.
- Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital in Brockton, MA is using UV light to sanitize and reuse N95 PPE equipment.
- The Division of Utilities and Solid Waste Management in Frederick, MD used its UV technology from its treatment plants to create a decontamination chamber for Frederick Hospital’s N95 masks.
Innovation in UV light is taking off as part of a larger global effort to fight the novel COVID-19 virus and we at The Coretec Group are aiming to do our part using our CHS technology to provide a scalable, cost-effective solutions for the quantum dots (QDs) that help customize UV LEDs. We are working tirelessly to push our agreement with the European materials manufacturer forward to ensure CHS is available for these next generation QD UV LEDs designed to decontaminate and protect against infectious diseases.
The economy is stretched thin due to the increased demand for medical supplies, bailouts and stimulus funding, so in order to deploy a solution that is broadly adopted nationwide and in an effective way, we need access to lower-cost UVC technology. CHS QD LEDs lower processing and manufacturing costs while delivering higher light intensity at a lower wattage which saves on energy costs. Furthermore, these QDs can be customized to be thin, optically transparent, and flexible, achieving the desired narrow frequencies for UVC light.
Silicon-doped UV LEDs also offer customization capabilities across the color spectrum, with the advantage of delivering specific frequencies of light for specific applications; such as using wavelengths of 200+ nm to kill viruses like COVID-19. In addition to UVC light, these technologies can also create UVA, UVB, deep blues, red lights and a broad, customizable spectrum that can increase energy costs for facilities and public spaces, while also enhancing the comfort of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
Looking to the future, there is significant potential - due to cost reduction and scalability of next generation UVC LEDs made with QDs - for these technologies to complement existing LED installations, simplifying and speeding up the decontamination process all at a lower cost. Picture, for example, the New York City subway system. The addition of UVC LED installations as a separate supplement to regular lighting could make cleaning the entire system as simple as flipping a switch when a train or station is out of service, instead of requiring hours of manual labor sweeping a train with a UVC light. The same could apply to a doctor's office, where a simple light switch could decontaminate the space on a weekly, daily or even hourly basis, keeping patients safe in times of crisis or when there is increased risk of exposure.
The role of UV LEDs in the continued battle against COVID-19 will continue to grow and innovations need to continue to make these solutions more efficient and cost-effective. We believe that our CHS QDs for these LED technologies can achieve these goals and we’ll continue to share updates as we collaborate with the broader LED community.