Disinfection with UV light

The Heraeus Blog on scientific findings, trends, new products and exciting application examples

Mode of action and scientific evidence

Why does UV have a disinfecting effect?

UV light in the wavelength range from 200 to 300 nm has a disinfecting effect. It is absorbed by the DNA of microorganisms, destroys their structure and inactivates living cells.
In seconds the UV-C (UVGI) radiation renders viruses, bacteria, yeasts and fungi harmless.
If the irradiation intensity is sufficiently high, UV disinfection is a reliable and environmentally friendly method, as the addition of chemicals is not necessary.
Furthermore, microorganisms cannot develop resistance to UV radiation.

How does UV light affect germs?

Air, water and surfaces usually contain a large amount of germs. Some are harmless, while others can cause a serious health risk for people.

The microorganisms present in the air - such as viruses, bacteria, yeasts and moulds - occur particularly in heavily frequented areas such as airports, doctors' surgeries, hospitals and in industry. They endanger the health of people, contaminate raw materials or spoil food.

UV radiation reliably reduces germs, and improves hygiene and storage conditions. To reduce the germ level over the long term, disinfect the germ-contaminated air in the supply air ducts.

The short-wave UV radiation in particular has a strong bactericidal effect. It is absorbed by the DNA of the microorganisms and destroys their structure. In this way, the living cells are inactivated.

How effective is UV-C (UVGI) light against viruses, bacteria and germs?

UV-C (UVGI) light is able to inactivate microorganisms up to 99.9999% which equals a log 6 reduction.

Since viruses have the simplest cell structure, they are the first inactivated. Furthermore they are unable to develop a resistance to UV light. Independent studies prove the effectiveness of UV-C (UVGI) radiation to inactivate SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus).

What are the current application areas in which UV (UVGI) light is used for disinfection?

UV disinfection is used in a wide range of applications and industries.

UV (UVGI) lamps are already used in:

  • food processing industry
  • pharmaceutical industry
  • hospitals
  • doctor's offices
  • labs
  • clean rooms
  • offices with and without air conditioning
  • highly frequented public facilities such as airports, cinemas etc.

Learn more about specific UV disinfection applications

Heraeus Solutions

Which emitters are used in the fight against viruses, bacteria and fungi?

For the disinfection of germs, so-called UV medium pressure, UV low pressure and also UV amalgam lamps are suitable. Depending on the requirement criteria, select the appropriate lamp in consultation with a UV expert. Criteria can include:

  • time available to inactivate a germ
  • energy consumption
  • required wavelength range
  • acquisition costs
  • size/ compression of the emitters
and much more.

However, when selecting the lamps, look for UV-C (UVGI) lamps that do not generate ozone. Ozone can cause harm to room occupants and is completely irrelevant for inactivating germs.

Suitable emitters are:

How does Heraeus Noblelight help you choose the right UV-C (UVGI) lamp?

Our UV experts have years of UV disinfection experience and know-how. We advise you on the right technology, the right design, all safety regulations and the appropriate lamp design.

Simply fill out our UVC (UVGI) consultation form. This way we can submit a qualified offer to you very quickly. Unfortunately we are not able to sell our lamps and systems to individual consumers.

Where are the UV-C (UVGI) disinfection products used?

The disinfection products from Heraeus are part of many success stories. Soluva®, for example, is used at St. Marien Hospital in Mülheim to disinfect cell phones, keys, masks and patient records. It also finds use in a podiatry medical practice.

Click here to find out where else the disinfection products are in use!

Which UV lamps and systems does Heraeus Noblelight offer for UV-C (UVGI) disinfection?

Heraeus Noblelight offers lamps and components for integration into your OEM solution, as well as complete systems ready for installation and use by end users.

Our Soluva® products for UV disinfection of indoor air are made in Germany.

All our Soluva® products for UV disinfection of surfaces and indoor air are made in Germany.

Who can purchase UV-C (UVGI) lamps for disinfection from Heraeus Noblelight?

Heraeus Noblelight is active in the B2B business, therefore we only sell UV lamps and systems for disinfection to other companies.

Please understand we cannot offer consumer goods.

Visit our Noblelight Soluva® Shop

Soluva® solutions for UV surface and air disinfection now available online.