Ultraviolet light is used for many applications but easily one of its most impressive functions is its ability to disinfect surfaces. However, not all UV light can be used for sterilization as it depends on the type of wavelength that it emits.
In this article, we discuss ultraviolet light, the different types of UV light, and which are most useful in the sterilization process.
What is Ultraviolet Light?
Ultraviolet light, also known as UV light, is a form of electromagnetic radiation. UV light has shorter wavelengths than that of visible light and longer wavelengths than x-rays.
The sun is the most abundant source of UV light but most of the mid and higher range wavelengths are blocked out by the earth’s atmosphere.
There are four different types of UV light:
UV-A is 315nm – 400nm (long wave)
UV-A has the longest wavelength and causes certain substances to light up or fluoresce. This type of UV light is most commonly used in the entertainment industries as well as forensics.
UV-B is 280nm – 315 nm (middle wave)
This wavelength is slightly shorter than UV-A and is responsible for the tanning effect on human skin. For this reason, it is most commonly used in sunbeds in tanning studios across the globe.
UV-C is 200nm- 280nm (short wave)
With an even shorter wavelength than UV-A and UV-B, UV-C is rich in energy and has an incredible ability to kill viruses and bacteria on surfaces and in the air. UV-C light is most commonly used to disinfect medical tools and surfaces as well as in other sterile environments.
EUV is 100nm-200nm
Extreme ultraviolet light has an extremely short wavelength and is most commonly used in manufacturing applications.
UV-C For Disinfection and Sterilization
How Does it Work?
UV-C light is used for disinfection and sterilization because of the unique germicidal abilities the range of light offers. In this range, the light breaks down molecular bonds found in the DNA of bacteria and viruses. DNA replication allows viruses and bacteria to replicate. Therefore, when the DNA structure is destroyed, they are unable to replicate, and they effectively die. Once dead, they are no longer infectious.
Evidence shows that UV-C light effectively destroys molds, yeasts, foodborne pathogens, bacteria, and viruses. However, it’s important to note that because microorganisms come in different shapes and sizes (affecting their UV absorption rates) the required time for killing each organism will vary accordingly. It’s also important to note the lifespan of the UV-C tube.
Benefits of Using UV-C for Sterilization and Disinfection
Kills 99.99% of all bacteria and viruses
Kills bacteria without causing pathogen immunity
Can be a portable device (for surfaces)
Can be used in fixed environments (sterilization cabinets for medical tools, etc.)
Safe to use when used correctly
Can be used for air sanitation
Can be used for water sanitation
Vivid Air – Manufacturers of Clean Air Equipment in South Africa
Ask about our VA Dosimeters – to measure UV-C efficacy.
Offering safe, clean, working environments is our focus. By designing, manufacturing, and installing clean air equipment in sterile environments, Vivid Air plays an integral role in preventing injury or infection due to harmful pathogens.
Our products and services pages provide insight into our scope. However, feel free to contact us should you require more information.