UVC LED: new, safer alternative to traditional UV lamps

Companies are starting to utilise UVC LEDs in their products for disinfection applications, but they may wonder what the benefits are over traditional UV-C mercury lamps that are available everywhere. One tip is to compare estimated power output, and application requirements.

Ultraviolet (UV) light has been used for decades in various industries including health and hygiene regimes. Historically, mercury lamps have been the only option for disinfection and sterilisation.

What is UVC?

First up, the UVC region of the UV spectral range are wavelengths between 100 nm to 280 nm. For disinfection, the optimum wavelength is in the region of 260 nm to 270 nm. UVC rays kill or inactivate microorganisms by destroying nucleic acids and disrupting their DNA, leaving them unable to perform vital cellular functions.

For all products using UVC it’s always important to compare intensity, which is the amount of light the reaches the surface or area. UVC intensity is usually displayed in microwatts or milliwatts per square centimeter.

What is UVC LED?

The light-emitting diode (LED) used in the disinfection products is a semiconductor device that emits light when a current is passed through it.

UVC LEDs are artificial lights that have a wavelength on the electromagnetic spectrum of 200nm to 280nm.

UVC LEDs benefit from a monochromatic light, that does not need any filters to remove unwanted wavelengths, and it can be fine tuned for disinfection.

Essentially, UVC LEDs can be used as a safe and effective toolkit to air, water, and food safety. UVC LEDs while being high-radiance and compact, it does not contribute to environmental issues, while reducing energy consumption and there are no chemicals deployed that could cause dangerous and lasting health effects like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or skin burns.

It also has instantaneous stability of the lights, instant turning on and off, that reaches full glow in a microsecond. Lastly the LEDs release a minimal amount of heat from the front side, For heat sensitive applications, LED lights generate heat through the back from the chip. Active cooling techniques can help with thermal management.

What are UVC Mercury lamps?

UVC Mercury lamps usually come in two forms: Low-pressure mercury lamps (fluorescent tubes) and high-pressure mercury lamps, where both have broad spectral distribution.

However, they have a warm up time and various factors that affect the stability of the light (temperature, power supply, construction design). The lifetime of a lamp is also greatly impacted by the process of turning the lamp on and off.

UVC Mercury lights houses a neural-toxin and is hazardous to humans and the environment. These types of lamps use phenomenal amount of power, meaning environmentally it has more detrimental effects. It may also cause skin burns.

Heat from UVC Mercury lamps are known to escape through the front, meaning the housing and filters they use becomes damaged.

Note that a lack of an assay or assays that do not measure a response to reproduction may result in misleading information on the inactivation of microorganisms using UV light products. The OTSAW OR-X has been lab tested with human Coronavirus, with successful disinfection results achieving 99.9% efficacy.

OTSAW is leading the implementation and safe use of the UVC LED disinfection technology in different applications, in places such as retail, offices, salons, schools, banking, hospitality, restaurants, washrooms and transportation.

OTSAW’s disinfection autonomous robot, the O-RX, utilises a new generation of solid-state UVC LEDs that is set to revolutionise the UVC standards moving away from harmful conventional UVC mercury sources.

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