Studies have shown that SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible COVID-19, can survive for up to three days on plastic and stainless-steel surfaces, two materials that are commonly used to manufacture these high-touch surfaces. New methods are needed to rapidly disinfect such high-touch surfaces at low cost. In response to this issue, engineers at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center developed the Ultraviolet Germicidal Door Handle. This compact and easy-to-install door lever or handle performs automatic self-decontamination after each use.
UV sterilization systems have been used before for door handles. However, such systems often require bulky mounting equipment, possess sub-optimal aesthetics, and are high price point products leaving significant room for improvement. To overcome the limitations of using cleaning agents, sprays, or bulky high-cost sterilizing systems, NASA developed the Ultraviolet Germicidal Door Handle.
This invention largely resembles a conventional door handle; however, it contains a compact, far UV-C LED light device that attaches to the handle via mounting threads and disinfects surfaces (i.e., kills or inactivates pathogens). The device is controlled by a sensor that activates the UV-C light for a specified time to disinfect the surface after each use. After disinfection is completed, a timer sequence switches the light off and prepares for the next use. Due to the simple, thread-based mounting system, the UV-C LED is easily removable from the door handle. The UV-C LED has several convenient features including a USB charging port, I/O switch, and low battery indicator light.
The Ultraviolet Germicidal Door Handle greatly minimizes the risk of harmful pathogens, such as SARS-CoV-2, being transmitted between people using the same door.
NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. Please contact NASA’s Licensing Concierge at