When it comes to the sanitation of public surfaces, industries have historically opted for a more traditional, chemical-based approach. However, as technology evolves, alternative methods that are more environmentally-conscious are proving to be more effective and reliable than their chemical counterparts. UV light cleaning is one of these non-traditional methods being swiftly adopted by countless industries across the world. But before we build-up to the application of UV in sanitation, let’s first address what UV light is and how it operates.
Quick Overview of UV Light: What is it and How Does it Work?
UV light, or ultraviolet light, is a form of electromagnetic radiation, inhabiting the same space as radio waves and visible light on the electromagnetic radiation spectrum. Much like its radioactive cousins, it travels in waves. The form these waves take is what determines the type of radiation it is. These waves can be broken down into:
- Wavelength (or frequency)
Wavelength is the measurement of length between one entire wave cycle, whereas amplitude is the measure of a wave’s overall intensity.
The Microscopic Measurement of UV Light
The measurement of UV light is microscopic. UV wavelengths are measured in just nanometers (abbreviated as nm). A nanometer is just one-millionth of a millimeter, a mind-bogglingly small measurement. The ultraviolet spectrum inhabits a wavelength range of 100 to 400 nm.
Within this range, ultraviolet is split into 3 types:
- Ultraviolet A (UVA)
- Ultraviolet B (UVB)
- Ultraviolet C (UVC)
The Varying Intensity of UV Lights (UVA, UVB, and UVC)
Each of these types of UV light varies in intensity. For example:
- Mild Radiation: UVA is a mild form of ultraviolet radiation, being used in tanning beds and black lights.
- Intense Radiation: UVB on the other hand is what ruins your day at the beach, giving you uncomfortable sunburns.
- Extremely Potent Radiation: UVC is the most powerful type of ultraviolet, able to biologically mutate harmful microorganisms and quickly reduce their lifespan.
UVC Light Modifies the Biological Makeup of Microorganisms
When UVC light comes into contact with a virus or bacteria, it alters their RNA and DNA, destroying their ability to spread by cutting off reproduction.
Thankfully, UVC light from the sun doesn’t make it through the Earth’s atmosphere, thus allowing for life to flourish.
The applications of UVC light in sanitation technology, on the other hand, is extremely useful. Harnessing this powerful light for industrial purposes, primarily sanitation, is the future of cleaning.
UV Light: An Eco-Friendly Revolution in Sanitation & Cleaning
UV light cleaning technology has been in use for over 40 years.
The neutralizing power of UVC light has been fully realized and integrated into doctor’s offices, hospitals, and even airplane bathrooms.
UVC light has revolutionized the world of sanitation, removing the cumbersome manual application of strong chemicals and reducing the amount of harmful environmental side effects.
3 Most Common Lamps Used to Produce UVC Radiation for Cleaning
Different devices require specific types of lamps to produce UVC radiation, though the type of lamp used determines its strength and applicability. Here are the most common forms of lamps used in cleaning devices:
- Low-Pressure Mercury Lamps
Just as its name implies, these lamps use mercury vapor to produce UVC radiation.
Mercury lamps have been widely used for UVC light production for quite some time and produce UVC radiation at various wavelengths.
Most of the time mercury lamps are powered to emit 254 nm, an exceptionally effective wavelength for sterilization (for 3B Medical customers, we use this wavelength in our Lumin products).
- Pulsed Xenon Lamps
These types of lamps emit their UVC light through short pulses. This type of lap is most commonly used in hospitals to clean surfaces.
- Light-Emitting Diodes (LED)
LED technology is widely used in televisions to emit visible light, allowing you to see your favorite shows and movies.
Today, LED lights are now also being created to emit UVC radiation. UV LEDs are convenient but are more for specific use-cases than traditional UVC lamps due to their inability to cover large surface areas and their need to be pointed at a target.
Hospitals Adopt UV-Emitting Robots to Neutralize Rooms, Leading to Quicker Turnaround
Much like the convenient jump from manual vacuum cleaners to automatic robots, hospitals are beginning to use automatic robots to clean their critical care units and other rooms. These automated robots are equipped with large pulsed xenon lamps, which pulse UVC radiation. With each pulse, the UVC light neutralizes any viruses and bacteria that might be lingering on surfaces.
These robots greatly reduce the time and labor needed to properly clean a room by first mapping their designated locations and then navigating those locations without any manual intervention.
This form of cleaning covers a lot of ground as the robot lamps flood the area with UVC light, and just like visible light, it reflects off of surfaces–leaving virtually no bit of surface area untouched.
The application of this technology is extremely important, especially when you have fast amounts of hospital traffic during a pandemic like COVID-19.
How Lumin Harnesses the Power of UV Light to Sanitize Personal Items
3B Medical has harnessed the sanitizing powers of UVC light in our Lumin products.
More thorough and efficient than traditional cleaning methods, 3B Medical’s Lumin cleaner is one of the most powerful ways to sanitize your personal items, including:
- Small devices (your cellphone)
- Sleeping equipment
- Face masks
- …and more
The Lumin cleaner utilizes a low-pressure mercury-vapor lamp that emits a UVC wavelength of 254 nm. Unlike the difficulties of cleaning with soap and water–and the dangers of using toxic ozone cleaners, the use of UVC light is safe and thorough.
How 3B Medical’s Lumin Works in 2 Easy Steps
The Lumin sanitation process is simple and easy and can be summarized in 2 easy steps.
1. Light Floods Lumin Box
After a simple, one-button start, your Lumin will flood its box with a UVC light, enveloping your mask, phone, or other devices. The box is created with a reflective aluminum finish that reflects the UVC light, allowing it to cover a large surface area. No UVC light leaves the inner chamber, ensuring its safe usage.
2. After 5 Minutes, Equipment is Sufficiently Clean
After five minutes your equipment will be sufficiently cleaned. It’s a very simple process that neutralizes a large variety of viruses, pathogens, and bacteria.
Here are some of the germs that the Lumin cleaner has been proven to clean:
- Saccharomyces Cerevisiae
- Clostridium tetani (tetanus)
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Influenza Virus (flu)
- Bacillus megatherium
The Future of Sanitation is UV Light… And It’s Now
The ability for UVC light to cut into the DNA and RNA is what makes it an incredible sterilization method. It truly will revolutionize the way society handles sanitation at home and at scale.
For more information about Lumin products, visit our site.