Kirtland lab tests microwaves to slow virus - Albuquerque Journal

Kirtland lab tests microwaves to slow virus

(Air Force Research Laboratory Illustration) Researchers at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base are involved in testing to determine whether microwaves can slow the spread of COVID-19.

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Can microwaves slow the spread of COVID-19 through the air and reduce its ability to infect people?

A group of scientists with the Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base and other military installations is trying to answer that very question.

And if that is the case, the information could lead to the development of a system that could be used in the decontamination of hospitals, airplane cabins and other facilities, according to Brad Hoff, project manager for the Viral Inactivation by Directed Energy Radiation project, which began March 20.

He said microwaves have the potential for rapid decontamination “not currently addressed by ultraviolet light or chemical cleaning for highly cluttered areas” while operating at levels safe for human occupancy.

Hoff said the testing will occur in two phases over six months. The researchers intend to make the results public after a peer review.

During testing, microwaves will be fully contained in a waveguide, a hollow metal pipe used to carry radio waves. An aerosol containing viruses will flow down a sealed dielectric tube within the microwave waveguide.

“The dielectric tube is transparent to the microwave energy traveling within the waveguide, enabling the aerosol droplets and viral particles within these droplets to interact directly with the microwave pulses,” Hoff said. “By varying the microwave waveform properties (pulse length, frequency and power) we will be able to test for specific vulnerabilities, which enable inactivation of the target virus.”

Because researchers will be testing against a live virus, the experiments will be performed at Lovelace Biomedical Research Institute. Hoff said LBRI has experience “in safe handling of these types of pathogens, within multiple layers of containment.”

“LBRI personnel will be performing all functions requiring handling of biological pathogens, and AFRL personnel will be providing and operating microwave source technology to produce the microwave waveforms required for the experiments,” he said.

Testing is also being done in collaboration with a team of researchers at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston. Researchers from Arlington, Virginia, are also involved with the project.

The VIDER project is based on published results of viral inactivation by microwaves in bulk fluids, Hoff said.

Home » ABQnews Seeker » Kirtland lab tests microwaves to slow virus


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Motion: FBI seized phone from Trump campaign lawyer
ABQnews Seeker
The New Mexico man who played ... The New Mexico man who played a key role in trying to keep Donald Trump in office after he lost the presidential election in ...
2
Supreme Court backs coach in praying on field after ...
ABQnews Seeker
The Supreme Court said Monday that ... The Supreme Court said Monday that a high school football coach who knelt and prayed on the field after games was protected by the ...
3
APD investigating homicide in Nob Hill area
ABQnews Seeker
Police say the person was found ... Police say the person was found outside
4
More support sought for early childhood education
ABQnews Seeker
and during the COVID-19 pandemic, no ... and during the COVID-19 pandemic, no less — is no small task. That's why Melissa Martinez, a single mother of a 3-year-old son and ...
5
Sunday shooting deaths of husband, wife will be investigated ...
ABQnews Seeker
Son had been charged with killing ... Son had been charged with killing father; father suspected of killing wife
6
Freedom 4th celebration returns
ABQnews Seeker
Thanks to generous amounts of recent ... Thanks to generous amounts of recent rainfall, the grass is lush and green at Balloon Fiesta Park, just in time for the return of ...
7
Gov. appoints new IT secretary
ABQnews Seeker
Peter Mantos, who has had a ... Peter Mantos, who has had a 30-year career in software development and technical management, is joining Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's administration as secretary of ...
8
Rains ease drought, but flooding threats loom
ABQnews Seeker
In the past two weeks, some ... In the past two weeks, some parts of New Mexico have received more than half of their typical annual rainfall. The persistent rain is ...
9
Governor issues order aimed at protecting abortion access in ...
ABQnews Seeker
Three days after the U.S. Supreme ... Three days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a landmark abortion ruling, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday signed an executive order aimed at ...