Can Light Really Sanitize?

Posted by Briana Lipor on 2/26/20 9:00 AM

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UV light is invisible to the human eye, but can be used to disinfect microorganisms.

As new outbreaks of the coronavirus continue to expand to South Korea and Italy, the fear of a global pandemic become greater. Hospitals and healthcare buildings are designed and operated to minimize the chance of infection. Lighting has traditionally served one purpose in facilities- illuminating interiors. However, recent new discoveries in lighting technologies have proven that light can disinfect your facility's workspace. 

There are new ways to disinfect areas that may be harboring organisms like C. diff and MRSA that requires no damaging cleaning chemicals. Instead, there is a technology that uses a form of ultraviolet (UV) light known as UVC. UVA and UVB are commonly known as they occur naturally in sunlight. UVC is a shorter-wave, higher energy form of UV that penetrates the cell walls of microorganisms and deactivates the cells, preventing future replication. While UV light is highly germicidal, it is also dangerous to humans. For this reason, UV light is intermittently applied when the space is unoccupied, resulting in a dramatic reduction in germs.

There is also an even newer white light disinfecting technology that disinfects and illuminates at the same time. This technology utilizes LED pure white light and is free of ultraviolet light. Working with specific wavelengths of light known to kill bacteria, fungus and mold that could cause potential harm. These wavelengths cause the breakdown of cellular structures and kills the cells. Human cells do not operate like this, this type of disinfecting light exposure is actually safe for human skin and retinas.  




How does Reflective Concepts play a role in this advanced medical technology?

To optimize the surface coverage and desired photometric pattern, reflectors play a large role in the success of light sanitation. RCI's Reflectors have a fundamental effect on light output and the overall effectiveness. Each light fixture requires a unique reflector that is designed to guide the light to the appropriate angles. Ensuring the light is shaped correctly or helping maintain a specific wavelength of the light for special applications. Using reflective materials reduces the energy requirements of your lighting so that they don't have to work as hard. Simply put, you receive more energy output. Additionally, reflectors play an important role in dispersing heat so that a fixture does not become overheated.




With the advances in lighting technology, we are now able to provide an effective solution to mitigate sickness in spaces where there are many people. Overall, visible light disinfection is a great option providing hospitals and other organizations an opportunity to potentially strengthen infection control programs. The importance of proper medical lighting applications cannot be denied and tailored reflectors continue to play a large role in the evolution of these applications. Reflective Concepts provides tailored reflectors for all industries including the medical industry. Working on a medical lighting project? Contact RCI at 866-276-6242.


Topics: Fabricated Reflectors, Medical Lighting, Tailored Reflectors, Reflectors Design, aluminum reflectors, lighting reflectors, LED lighting