UV light is offering the promise of effective sterilization and disinfection of all surfaces. However, not all UV lamps are suitable for sterilization or disinfection.
So today, we are going to look at the specific types of UV which can deactivate viruses in the air and on surfaces.
The below article hopes to explain things a little more concisely, but it will still be rather scientific.
Just like visible light, UV light consists of a wide range of wavelengths, and to achieve accurate sterilisation we need to be more precise when discussing the various UV lamp types.
In this article we will discuss some of the technologies and wavelengths that are effective or not for virus destroying UVGI radiation.
The specifications we need to consider are for wavelengths measured in nanometres (nm), and there are many different types of ultraviolet (UV) light wavelengths.
Ultraviolet wavelengths can range from 100 nm to 400 nm, which is important for virus sterilisation systems, but much shorter than the visible wavelength of light.
Depending on the wavelength, there are many types of UV light, which have different properties depending on the application.
Perhaps the most common type of ultraviolet lamps we see is the one that radiates from the UV range of the spectrum, or UV-C. These are the types of UV light in germicidal bulbs.
UV radiation is invisible, except for certain materials that fluoresce (glow) and are visible to us.
UV radiation is a weak form of ultraviolet energy, however caution is required as it can be harmful when exposed to excessive exposure, even when invisible.
Products Containing UV Bulbs
Many UV LED products emit in the UV-A range and are commonly referred to as black light, but these wavelengths have not been shown to be effective for germicidal or sterilizing applications and should therefore not be used.
These products are considered ultraviolet, but their wavelengths of 360 nanometers or more are far too long. For example, the waveform of a bulb of this type is used to emit at 365 nm to 395 nm and emit a wavelength of 1,000 to 2,500 nm.
UV-B radiation has shorter wavelengths than UV-C radiation, but is generally stronger than UV-A and is the primary wavelength that causes sunburn and skin cancer.
Although both UV-A and UV-B are present in natural sunlight. Its ability to sterilise and inactivate viruses, bacteria and molds has been shown to be very limited due to its high energy potential.
DNA and RNA molecules are able to react with UVC wavelengths, making pathogens sterile and incapable of reproduction. In order to successfully implement a UV sterilization system for LEDs, we first have to look for UV LEDs that emit in the UV-C range of the spectrum.
The reason why it is absolutely crucial to use the right wavelength of UV light for germicidal applications is the mechanisms by which pathogens are deactivated.
Therefore we should look for LED products with UV-C wavelengths, which are specially calibrated for germicidal applications.
Why is UV-C so important for the sterilization and sterilization of bacteria, viruses and molds?
DNA and RNA is one of the building blocks of life, including proteins, nucleic acids, amino acids and other chemical compounds. DNA is attacked by UVC light so that the pathogens cannot replicate, which ultimately leads to the death of the infectious colony.
Robust and repeated studies have shown that when a pathogen is exposed to certain ultraviolet wavelengths, it is destroyed within minutes.
DNA molecules consist of two different types of chemical compounds, the so-called nucleic acids. Changes in these chemical binding configurations lead to changes in the DNA sequence that prevent the pathogen from reproducing.
Thymine and uracil have absorption spectra that are particularly sensitive to wavelengths up to 265 nanometres. Thymine (urACil) has an absorption that almost does not exist at wavelengths of more than 300 nanometres.
Many people wonder whether their fluorescent black light is suitable for germicidal applications, as there are some long-wave UV-A rays people believe will work. There is no doubt that the longer wavelengths of UV – a work, but UV-A products at longer wavelengths are usually more available.
Research has shown, however, that UV-C is the only wavelength band that can reliably and consistently inactivate a wide range of viruses, bacteria and molds.
There may also be possible ways in which non-UV-C radiation can lead to disinfection. Studies have shown that there are other photochemical processes that can occur during UV-A wavelength exposure, such as the formation of free radicals, which according to the UVGI theory can lead to inactivation and contribute to inactivation.
Although the above information is quite scientific, it all boils down to the fact that there are only a few ways to beat the current pandemic.
Firstly, the main way to beat the pandemic is the lockdowns and self isolation. Letting the virus die out naturally while we stay indoors.
We cannot be doing this forever, so it seems almost nonsensical.
Secondly, we can disinfect all areas constantly, wash out hands and face all the time, and keep social distancing measures.
The problem is this doesn’t seem to work in large scale populations.
Thirdly, the UVC route is now being proven to kill problematic bacteria, viruses, pathogens, mold, and other airborne diseases.
Within minutes, these light rays can penetrate and destroy these cells, leaving areas clean and virus free. We may all be seeing these types of products everywhere soon as we learn to cope with deadly outbreaks.
PathogenUK has systems such as our Elite-101. This system has internal and external UV lights which will kill viruses in the air and on surfaces.
Please check out our website for more products and information on the latest UV technology and how it can get us all back to work.