*Michael Keidar, Li Lin, Kareem Kabra, Xiaoliang Yao, Vikas Soni, Nalini Singh, Christopher Mores, George Washington University, Washington, DC
It is well known that ultraviolet (UV) is able to damage both the protein capsid and nucleic acid of a virus. As such cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) devices are potentially an effective broadband sanitation tool. Responding to the global COVID-19 threat, it is urgent to develop CAP devices with the following two features. First, considering the strong absorption of vacuum UV (VUV) of air, the discharge unit in the device has to be close to the target with a safety cover to prevent the side leak of VUV. In this study, we also summarized how UV in the air can generate reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS) with the help of a strong electric field. Therefore, the RONS emission from the device may also deactivate the virus. Second, the device has to be mobile, easy to maneuver, and low-cost. To this end, we developed several prototypes that are hand-held devices and powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Considering the shortage of consumables, such as ethanol, these electric-powered sanitation devices can be a good replacement for the liquid sanitation solutions. One of these devices is a discharge tube. Although the tube is sealed, the vacuum UV (VUV) emission photoionized the surrounding air where the electrodes nearby can accelerate the resulting electrons. Therefore, a low amount of RONS are still generated at the vicinity of the tube during collisions. Testing on SARS-CoV-2 samples with cold plasma demonstarted feasible of such approach.