Liverpool researchers developing device to destroy household allergens

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Researchers from the University of Liverpool are developing a device that can help tackle airborne allergens in the home.

The device uses cold plasma technology, a form of ionised gas where energetic electrons and ions coexist alongside a wide variety of highly reactive chemical compounds.

The technology uses far less power than other technologies as it only requires air and electricity to operate.

The researchers are developing a device that will use cold plasma technology to destroy airborne allergens on contact.

The team will construct a pulsed air plasma source that creates a plasma that contains highly reactive chemical compounds.

Diagnostic measurements will be made on common household allergens passing through the plasma device to reveal the underpinning breakdown pathways.

The researchers hope to develop an engineering solution that simultaneously targets multiple allergens such as dust mites, fungal spores and pollen.

It’s estimated that over 12 million people in the UK suffer from allergies as a result of airborne allergens. More so, airborne allergens are believed to cost the NHS £311 million every year.

Dr James Walsh, from the University’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Electronics and director of the Centre for Plasma Microbiology, said:

“This is an exciting and innovative research project which has real-life impact. We will use our expertise in plasma science here at Liverpool to ultimately produce a low-cost, efficient and effective technology that reduces the concentration of allergens from within the household environment.”

“There are a number of challenging technological issues that we will need to address to develop this device; however, if we do so, we will have the opportunity to improve the quality of life for a vast number of people.”

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