Tech Transfer eNews Blog

Princeton researchers develop device that continuously disinfects surfaces to combat COVID-19


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: October 14th, 2020

Researchers at Princeton University have developed a safe and effective way to continuously disinfect commonly touched surfaces to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

The technology directs cold plasma from different points on handrails, keypads and other high-contact surfaces to keep them disinfected without hand sanitizer, sprays, UV light or other chemical-based solutions. A natural disinfectant, plasma operates continuously, is more effective than UV treatment, and doesn’t carry the health risks of alcohol-based liquid sanitizers.

“The technology provides for a compact, efficient and inexpensive method of plasma generation for the purpose of disinfecting surfaces,” comment the inventors, Charles Gentile and Kenneth Silber, both of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). Their device produces plasma through piezoelectric discharge, the same method used to ignite gas barbecue grills.

“It’s continuously disinfecting. Imagine, every night, not having to wipe down subway car poles and handles, says Silber. “This could reduce people getting sick in general. There are 3 million escalators in the United States, with two handrails each. That’s 6 million handrails touched daily. Imagine if we could keep those constantly disinfected.”

Princeton’s Office of Technology Licensing has made the device available for licensing and is actively engaging with several parties interested in taking the technology to market.

Source: Princeton University

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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