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A photocatalyst for destroying viruses

By Tetsuo Satoh |

Meanwhile, professor Kazuhito Hashimoto at the University of Tokyo (Japan; www.light.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp) has developed new photocatalyst materials based on copper-titanium oxide, which exhibits superior antiviral effectiveness and enhanced antibacterial properties compared to existing systems. Developed with support from NEDO, this new catalyst system is capable of reducing the number of viruses in air by four orders of magnitude without light in 1 h — a 99.99% viral deactivation — and by seven orders of magnitude in the presence of visible light. The research group also observed similar effectiveness against bacteria, such as E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus. A system using this photocatalyst has undergone field testing at airports and hospitals in Japan. Together with Showa Titanium, the scientists have started to develop a mass-production process for the photocatalyst system. Also under the NEDO project, applications development are underway at Seiwa Kogoyo Co. (for air-cleaning systems); Sekisui Jushi Corp. (for construction materials for interiors); Toto Ltd. (for tiles and paints); Nippon Sheet Glass Co. (for glass); at Panasonic Corp. (for films); and Taiyo Kogyo Corp. (for tent canvas materials).
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