Columbia researcher David Brenner believes far-UVC light—safe for humans, but lethal for viruses—could be a ‘game changer.
A technique that zaps airborne viruses with a narrow-wavelength band of UV light shows promise for curtailing the person-to-person spread of COVID-19 in indoor public places.
The technology, developed by Columbia University’s Center for Radiological Research, uses lamps that emit continuous, low doses of a particular wavelength of ultraviolent light, known as far-UVC, which can kill viruses and bacteria without harming human skin, eyes and other tissues, as is the problem with conventional UV light.
“Far-UVC light has the potential to be a ‘game changer,’” said David Brenner, professor of radiation biophysics and director of the center. “It can be safely used in occupied public spaces, and it kills pathogens in the air before we can breathe them in.”