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Soft X-ray Enhanced Electrostatic Precipitation of Biological Aerosols: Attenuation of Microbial Repiratory Infections and Allergic Airway Disease in Murine Models
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Human exposure to infectious microbial agents, allergens, and ultrafine particles is greatly influenced by the quality of indoor air. High-efficiency particulate air filters remove airborne particles >0.3 µm with 99.97% efficiency, but are expensive to operate and maintain. Electrostatic precipitation has been used as an inexpensive approach to remove large particles from an airstream, but has a collection efficiency minimum in the sub-micrometer size range resulting in a penetration window that coincides with the size range of select biological aerosols. Incorporation of soft X-ray irradiation as an in-situ component of the electrostatic precipitation process greatly improves the capture efficiency of submicrometer particles. Here, the removal capabilities of soft X-ray enhanced electrostatic precipitation technology targeting infectious agents (poxviruses, M. bovis-BCG, and B. anthracis), allergens, and ultrafine particles is demonstrated. When optimized for combined efficient particle removal with limited ozone production, this technology could be incorporated into stand-alone indoor air cleaners or scaled for installation in aircraft cabin, office, and residential HVAC systems. Such systems could also be used for protection against intentionally aerosolized bioagents.