Ultraviolet light can make indoor spaces safer during the pandemic – if it’s used the right way

As an environmental engineer who studies UV light, I’ve observed that UV can be used to reduce the risk of transmission through both routes. UV lights can be components of mobile machines, whether robotic or human-controlled, that disinfect surfaces. They can also be incorporated in heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems or otherwise positioned within airflows to disinfect indoor air.

UV-C contains the most effective wavelengths for killing pathogens. UV-C is also hazardous to the eyes and skin. Artificial UV light sources designed for disinfection emit light within the UV-C range or a broad spectrum that includes UV-C.

UV photons between 200 and 300 nanometers are absorbed fairly efficiently by the nucleic acids that make up DNA and RNA, and photons below 240 nanometers are also well absorbed by proteins. These essential biomolecules are damaged by the absorbed energy, rendering the genetic material inside a virus particle or microorganism unable to replicate or cause an infection, inactivating the pathogen.

theconversation. Ultraviolet light can make indoor spaces safer during the pandemic – if it’s used the right way