Pulsed ultraviolet light decontamination of artificially-generated microbiological aerosols

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Airborne transmission of infectious organisms is a major public health concern, particularly within healthcare and communal public environments. Methods of environmental decontamination utilising pulsed ultraviolet (UV) light are currently available, however it is important that germicidal efficacy against airborne contamination is established. In this study bacterial aerosols were generated and exposed to short duration pulses (~20 µs) of UV-rich light emitted from a xenon-filled flashlamp. The lamp was operated using a 1 kV solid–state pulsed power source, with a pulse frequency of 1 Hz, and output energy of 20 J/pulse. Post-treatment, air samples were extracted from the chamber and the surviving fraction was enumerated using standard microbiological culture methods. Results demonstrate successful aerosol inactivation, with a 92.1% reduction achieved with only 5 pulses of UV-rich light (P=<0.0002). Inactivation using continuous UV light was also investigated in order to quantify the comparative efficacy of these antimicrobial light sources. Overall, results provide evidence of the comparative efficacy of pulsed and continuous UV light for inactivation of airborne bacterial contamination. For practical application, given the safety restrictions limiting its application for decontamination of unoccupied environments, or within sealed enclosures such as air handling units, the reduced treatment times with PUV provides significant operational advantages over continuous light treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIEEE 21st International Conference on Pulsed Power (PPC), 2017
Place of PublicationPiscataway, N.J.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)978-1-5090-5748-1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2018
Event21st IEEE International Conference on Pulsed Power - the Hilton Metropole Hotel, Brighton, United Kingdom
Duration: 18 Jun 201722 Jun 2017
Conference number: 21

Publication series

NameIEEE Pulsed Power Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Electronic)2158-4923


Conference21st IEEE International Conference on Pulsed Power
Abbreviated titlePPC 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • microorganisms
  • hospitals
  • optical variables measurement
  • aerosols
  • light sources

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