The Portable Optical Cavity Sterilization Unit

Published: September 5, 2020

Scientists have developed a portable sterilisation unit using a new technology called the hybrid sterilization system. It can decontaminate personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary for combating COVID 19, easily and rapidly, allowing them to be used multiple times.

Key Facts

  • It can be used by health professionals and other COVID warriors for whom PPEs are essential
  • It can prevent generation of hazardous solid waste from PPEs.
  • It has been developed jointly by IIT Tirupati (IITT) and IISER Tirupati
  • It provides efficient and rapid decontamination of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other household items.
  • It consisting of a UV radiation cavity, cold plasma, and H2O2spray
  • A working point-of-use sterilization unit has been developed with the support of Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB)
  • Unlike the traditional UV systems, this unit follows the optical cavity concept to optimize the use of photon flux in the treatment area.
  • The system confines the UV radiation and enhances photon-flux and sterilization efficacy.
  • The coherent operation of UV-C, cold plasma, and H2O2spray further strengthens the sterilization efficiency due to more hydroxyl radical production.

UV radiation is a proven method for sterilization. However, the lower penetration depth of UV-C and faster divergence from the source can result in nonuniform treatment. The team is currently optimizing the design parameters, including UV dose, plasma, and H2O2 concentration, to get the optimum sterilization performance in short contact time of less than 2 min. Due to the non-thermal nature of the treatment, the proposed unit will also find application in the sterilization of other items such as packed and unpacked food, currency, and other household items.

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