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Measurement of Actinic and Safety-Related Irradiance of UV-C Air Disinfection

App. 012

Shortwave UV-C radiation is highly bactericidal because it is absorbed by the DNA of microorganisms which destroys its structure. Referred to as ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI), UV-C wavelengths around (260-270)nm are most effective in combating airborne bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms such as mildews and yeasts. Disinfecting the air can prevent the transmission of a variety of airborne infections such as tuberculosis and pandemic influenza. It can also prevent contamination of raw materials and food. Therefore, UV-C air disinfection systems are being increasingly used within healthcare environments, public places, industry, and research facilities.

Manufacturers need to optimise the efficacy of the UV germicidal action of air purification systems whilst ensuring no hazard is presented to occupants. 

New developments in germicidal UV sources of particular note are UV-C LED arrays (265-280)nm and far UV lamps such as excimer KrCl (222nm).

Out specialist UV-C detectors (UVC Radiometers) are designed to withstand the high-energy UV radiation present within air disinfection systems whilst offering the dynamic range to enable low level hazard measurements. To measure the irradiance of such extended sources, radiometers must be designed with a cosine field of view function. The required cosine-correction optics and photodetector components must also be pre-aged because of the high-energy UV radiation. Occupant safety [1] must be ensured for rooms fitted with ceiling-mounted air disinfection systems. The monitoring of exposure to UV-C [2] of long term occupants (e.g. healthcare workers [3]) within rooms fitted with air purification can be achieved with the use of personal dosimeters such as the X2000.

See also our application note about Germicidal UV Standards.


[1] S Milonova et al, Occupant UV Exposure Measurements for Upper-Room Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation

[2] MW First et al, Monitoring Human Exposures to Upper-Room Germicidal Ultraviolet Irradiation

[3] UV-C Exposure and Health Effects in Surgical Suite Personnel