Why the characterization of UV light is essential for UV-C disinfection

UV-C disinfection as a practice has been steadily growing in demand, however 2020 is the year that the technique has truly garnered worldwide attention. The Covid-19 global pandemic has created a heightened focus on disinfection practices across multiple applications and environments.

Prevailed as one of the most effective solutions for eliminating coronavirus from surfaces (and potentially air and water), UV-C disinfection as a reliable decontamination practice is backed by research organizations including the International Ultraviolet Association and Penn State and the University of Minnesota.

When bacteria and viruses are exposed to the UV-C wavelengths of UV light, they are rendered incapable of being able to reproduce and infect. As a result of COVID-19, many healthcare practices, schools, office buildings, and restaurants have moved swiftly to trial or adopt the use of UV-C disinfection practices.

What gets measured, gets managed

With this rapid uptake of UV-C disinfection, it is vital to make sure the right level of UV light is being used during the cleaning process.

For UV-C disinfection to be effective, the correct dose needs to be administered. This is the ‘irradiance’ or the ‘power received’ by a surface.

Earlier this year, the Global Lighting Association consulted with leading lighting industry experts to develop guidelines to ensure that UV-C technology and products are used safely and effectively. Central to these guidelines was the establishment of standardised irradiance measurements which should be conducted to ensure UV dosage is emitted to effective disinfection levels.

Therefore, those who invest in UV-C technologies must have a reliable means of accurately analysing and measuring the UV light. The ability to measure and record the UV wavelengths will help limit unnecessary exposure to operators and optimise the amount of time needed to complete disinfection.

Wave Illumination has the answer

The UV WaveGo is a handheld instrument that offers a seamless, easy to use, on-the-go means of measuring, monitoring and recording critical measurements of UV-C lighting systems for air and surface disinfection.

In most cases, simply measuring the presence of a wavelength is not enough. You need to be able to quantify or ‘characterize’ total exposure/dosage over a period, as without the surface being exposed for a long enough period, true disinfection does not occur. The UV WaveGo can facilitate this.

For UV light characterization, an irradiance measurement is taken by the UV WaveGo. Irradiance is the amount of energy emitted at each wavelength from a radiant sample. From the data gathered, intensity values can then be calculated to determine UV dosage and can be used to confirm that the correct UV wavelengths are being used.

Measurements are made using the UV WaveGo handheld spectrometer with data recorded and automatically synced to the Wave cloud solution and app for instant review. Data records are stored permanently and can be easily searched and shared for proof of compliance.

Lighting manufacturers and installers can use the UV WaveGo solution to demonstrate the effectiveness of their UV-C technologies for disinfection, while organizations can ensure continued effectiveness and employee safety by regularly measuring and monitoring the UV light transmission of their system installations.

The ACE benefits of the UV WaveGo

  • Accurate – the spectrometer data displays a spectrum with peaks at different wavelengths so the user knows exactly what the profile of light reaching the surface is
  • Connected – the spectrometer connects to your phone, displays the data and that data is sent into the cloud
  • Easy – the device is plug and play and takes a reference measurement automatically, so you don’t have to be a spectroscopy expert to operate it

What does the future hold for UV-C disinfection?

The benefits of UV-C disinfection have been greatly appreciated during the COVID-19 pandemic, helping to stop the spread of the virus and keeping people safe by ensuring sterile environments. However, that appreciation is set to last long after COVID-19 has subsided.

The use of UV disinfection is likely to expand and there will be continuing research into ways to make UV-C sources more efficient. LED-based UV disinfection systems are emerging, and lighting manufacturers are investing in developing longer lifespans for conventional UV lamps.

The integration of UV-C lighting in robot systems is further enhancing the scope of applications, by enabling autonomous disinfection processes that negate the need for human intervention.

UV-C lighting systems require low capital and operation costs and low maintenance. This coupled with their ease of use are critical to the projected substantial growth in the adoption of such technologies in business and public environments in the coming years.

Read how Ocean Insight teamed up with leading U.S. pediatric hospital to monitor the output of UV lamps used in the disinfection of critical personal protective equipment (PPE).

Talk to us today about your UV lighting measurement requirements – simply submit an enquiry via our website and a member of the Wave team will be in touch to discuss your needs.