How UV-C works

The history of UV-C

The use of UV-C has a long history. In the late 1800 century, research proved that UV-C light could be used to eliminate bacteria and viruses.

Artificial UV-C produced by electric lamps has previously been used for sterilization and disinfection. There have been applications of high-frequency wave light UV-C for decontaminating water, and there have been UV-C applications for air sanitation. Currently, more than 6000 water plant treatment plants are using UV-C in Europe because of the lights superior effectiveness to eliminate bacteria.

There have been UV-C bulb sanitation solutions for materials and disinfection spaces such as operating rooms. These, however, have not been used for large-scale commercial purposes and, fast frequent and optimized cleaning of materials and surfaces in seconds.

How UV-C works

UV light has wavelengths shorter than visible light. Wavelengths range between about 200 nm and 300 nm. Microorganisms have weak protection against UV-C and cannot survive prolonged exposure to it. When being exposed to UV-C bacteria and viruses are eliminated.

Unlike UV-A and B, the UV-C wavelength has more than twice the energy (eV) as UV-A, and it is well absorbed by organic substances. UV-C’s effects on viruses and bacteria are well proven. It owes these effects to the biocidal features of ionizing radiation, which does far more damage to molecules in biological systems than for example temperature. This is why UV-C is the ultraviolet light of choice for purifying surfaces, air and water from viruses and bacteria and for inactivating microbes. UV-C light in the 260 – 285 nm range most relevant for current disinfection technologies because the range is most effective for eliminating viruses and bacteria.


Recent developments in UV-C

New technology solutions in the LED field make it possible to sanitize by using specific wavelengths in the UV spectrum to optimize the effect of sterilization of different types of objects. This enables large-scale usage of convenient UV-C sterilizing solutions. The older technology with UV-C bulbs could not effectively be applied due to size and not using optimized wavelengths for effective sterilization.

The wide use of UV-C LED is still limited but concerns for highly contagious viruses and bacteria support a strong need for new devices that address problematic contagious transmission. UV-C produces similar results of sterilization creating reliable and safe disinfection.

It is known to be extremely efficient where bacteria and viruses are eliminated within seconds when being exposed to UV-C light. UV-C is used in a variety of areas such as food, air, and water purification. It has often been used in medical sanitation and is nowadays common in the purification of drinking- and waste water. UV-C is ranked as the highest growth area in all lightning. Its applications are currently growing rapidly.