UV light frees mobile devices from coronavirus

UV light frees mobile devices from coronavirus

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Smartphones, tablets and similar mobile gadgets are picked up countless times a day. In the private sector, hygienic aspects play a subordinate role. But when used in hospitals, hygiene comes to the fore. Here, tablets and smartphones are tody being used in many different ways and also go from hand to hand. Disinfection is therefore absolutely necessary to prevent the transmission of pathogens. The use of chemical agents is prohibited, as this would destroy the grease-repellent coating of the displays. Researchers from Fraunhofer IOSB have developed a technical solution for this: from the outside, it looks like a standard microwave oven. Inside, however, UVC LEDs – light-emitting diodes that work with ultraviolet light – with a wavelength of 269 nm are used.

The device contains two separate LED modules with 10 UVC LEDs each for the top and bottom of the smartphone. Each LED has an output of 100 milliwatts, so the total beam power is 2 watts. Thus an irradiation dose of 800 J/m² is achieved in just a few seconds, which enables efficient inactivation of bacteria and viruses.

The devices are not only disinfected by light, but also identified by an NFC reader, the applied dose is recorded and logged by a sensor. Thus, each disinfection process can be validated and assigned to the respective device. An LCD display informs the user about the most important functions. Furthermore, downstream IT systems can be integrated via W-LAN and web interface.

The areas of application for mobile phone disinfection range from the clinical sector to private and commercial use to the event market. The prototype is expected to be presented in September 2020 at IFAT, the world’s leading trade fair for water, sewage, waste and raw materials management in Munich. Fraunhofer IOSB-AST is now looking for partners from industry for commercial exploitation.

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