UV-C LEDs: using light to fight viruses
The longer the coronavirus pandemic lasts, the more important it is to stay safe and healthy in everyday life. Hygiene measures, such as wearing a facemask or socially distancing, help safeguard against the spread of germs. But light in the right wavelength also makes an enormous contribution to fighting viruses. UV-C LED light can eliminate 99.9% of viruses and bacteria on surfaces, in the air and in drinking water.
Osram Opto Semiconductors now enables particularly small and robust disinfection applications with its LEDs, while also driving the industrialisation of these special light sources forward. The Oslon UV 3636 marks the beginning of a comprehensive portfolio in the UV-C LED sector.
Irradiation with UV-C light causes chemical bonds in the RNA or DNA helix of the pathogens to break down. As a result, they are no longer able to multiply and are thus rendered harmless. UV-C light has been used for many years to disinfect air or water - but often with very large lamps based on conventional light technologies. A major advantage of modern, LED-based UV-C solutions is the compact size of the light sources.
Thanks to their space-saving dimensions, the LEDs can be installed easily on the final application for direct interaction with the substance being sanitised such as: significantly reducing germs in faucets and disinfecting the air in air conditioning systems before it is blown into car interiors.
The direct integration of the light sources also has the advantage of ensuring that the high-energy, short-wave UV-C light does not reach the surrounding area, and therefore, does not pose a risk to people. In addition, unlike conventional lighting technologies, LEDs are very robust and insensitive to external shocks. Oslon UV 3636, Osram’s first UV-C LED, is available in a low- and a mid-power version and features compact dimensions of 3.6x3.6mm. With a wavelength of 275 nanometers, both versions are suited to disinfection applications. The low-power version achieves 4.5 milliwatts at 30 milliamperes. The mid-power version impresses with 42 milliwatts at 350 milliamperes. "Thanks to their compact footprint and different optical power classes, UV-C LEDs enable completely new designs and applications," explained Christian Leirer, Product Manager for UV-C at Osram Opto Semiconductors. "The Oslon UV 3636 is the first product in a series of innovations from Osram Opto Semiconductors in the UV-C range. A high-power UV-C LED will be launched in early 2021.”