What is UV Disinfection tower developed by DRDO and how it will work?
The Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection tower will disinfectant high infection-prone areas more rapidly and make it chemical-free. The name of the equipment is 'UV blaster'.
What is UV Blaster?
It is a UV based area sanitiser that is designed and developed by the Laser Science & Technology Centre (LASTEC).
LASTEC is a Delhi based premier laboratory of DRDO and has developed it with the help of M/s New Age Instruments and Materials Private Limited, Gurugram.
Use of UV Blaster
It is used for top tech surfaces like equipment, computers and other gadgets in laboratories and offices that aren’t suitable for disinfection with chemical methods. It will also be effective for those areas where there is a large flow of people including airports, shopping malls, metros, hotels, factories, offices, etc.
What does the equipment consist of?
The equipment has 6 lamps each with 43 watts of UV-C power at 254 nm wavelength for 360-degree illumination. It can also be remotely operated through a laptop/mobile phone by using a wifi link.
According to the Defence Ministry, the disinfection time is about 10 minutes for about a room of 12X12 feet dimension and 30 minutes for 400 square feet area by positioning the equipment at different places within the room. Further, on an accidental opening or human intervention, the sanitiser switches off. It has a safety feature the key to arm operation.
According to WHO “UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation".
What is Ultraviolet (UV) radiation?
Ultraviolet light is a type of electromagnetic radiation. It has shorter wavelengths than visible light. Let us tell you that UV waves are invisible to the human eye but some insects like bumblebees can see them.
What is the source of UV radiation and its types?
The source of UV radiation is the Sun. It is subdivided into UV-A, UV-B and UV-C. UV-A rays have the longest wavelengths whereas UV-B and UV-C rays have the shortest wavelengths. UV-A and UV-B rays are transmitted through the atmosphere. All UV-C and some UV-B rays are absorbed by the ozone layer. Therefore, most of the UV rays that you may come in contact with are UV-A with a small amount of UV-B.
So we can say that the most harmful radiation that is almost completely absorbed by our atmosphere is UV-C.
Both UV-A and UV-B rays can cause damage to the skin. The short-term overexposure causes sunburn while premature ageing and skin cancer is a side effect of prolonged UV exposure. Exposure to UV-B rays increases the danger of DNA and other cellular damage in living organisms.
Other sources of UV radiation include tanning booths, mercury vapour lighting, some halogen, fluorescent and incandescent lights and some types of lasers.
Who discovered Ultraviolet (UV) light?
Johan Ritter in 1801 conducted an experiment to investigate the existence of energy beyond the violet end of the visible spectrum. He knows that photographic paper would turn black more rapidly in blue light than in red light and so he exposed the paper to light beyond violet. As a result, the paper turned black and proves the existence of ultraviolet light.
Wavelengths of Ultraviolet radiation:
It lies between the wavelengths of about 400 nanometres on the visible-light side and about 10 nm on the X-ray side. Some authorities have extended the short-wavelength limit to 4 nm. Let us tell you that 1 nanometre (nm) is 10 -9 metre.
Traditionally Ultraviolet radiation in physics is divided into four regions: near (400–300 nm), middle (300–200 nm), far (200–100 nm), and extreme (below 100 nm).
Based on the interaction of wavelengths of ultraviolet with biological materials, three divisions are there: UV-A (400–315 nm), also known as black light; UV-B (315–280 nm), liable for the radiation’s best-known effects on organisms; and UV-C (280–100 nm).
As we know that to fight against COVID-19, it is important to remove an infection from the surface of the objects and UV disinfection tower ‘UV Blaster’ will help to do the same. DRDO has developed a UV Disinfection tower that will disinfect the highly prone areas to novel coronavirus infection.