Photo: CDC

    Unleashing the power of ultraviolet light


    April 28, 2020


    Signify is harnessing the beneficial germicidal and antiviral properties of UV-C to aid in the disinfection of hospitals, schools and more

    Our Ultraviolet C (UV-C) product line has found itself in the front line in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. But what is UV-C? How exactly is it helping and what products do we currently provide?

    Read on to learn more about UV-C, our portfolio and where it’s making a difference.

    Breaking down the ultraviolet spectrum

    The Ultraviolet light (UV) portion of the spectrum spans 100-400 nanometers (nm) and is divided into different types. Most of us are familiar with UV, in the form of UV-A and UV-B in sunlight, which makes people tan. UV-B has medical applications such as the treatment of psoriasis and is also responsible for the formation of bone-strengthening vitamin D in humans. 

    Our UV-C lamps emit a peak wavelength of 254 nm which has been proven to be very effective for breaking down the DNA of viruses"

    Then there’s UV-C, which is an invisible light that’s hazardous to humans and thankfully is filtered out by the Earth’s atmosphere. Found within the range of 200-280 nm, UV-C has beneficial germicidal properties and can break down the DNA of bacteria, viruses, fungi and mold spores. Our conventional UV-C lamps have the same shape as our well-known fluorescent tubes but without the phosphorous coating. They emit a peak wavelength of 254 nm which has been proven to be very effective for breaking down the DNA of viruses. The slightly blueish hue they emit is due to a small peak at 437 nm, in the visible portion of the spectrum, otherwise UV-C is invisible to the human eye.

    Present portfolio

    Our current product range consists of lamps and drivers that are provided to OEMs that integrate them into systems to disinfect water, surfaces or air.
    UV purification products
    In addition, our ONCE BioShift® UV-C germicidal chamber resembles an industrial microwave oven in which items can be placed for speedy disinfection. Available in several sizes, it was originally conceived for bio-security applications in agriculture, such as disinfecting instruments, but is now finding wider use. For example, some police stations are using the chambers to disinfect guns, radios and handcuffs.
    Bioshift on 300dpi

    Responding to a crisis

    In this time of global crisis, we have ramped up production of our UV-C lamps as they can play a vital role in OEM products to disinfect hospitals and schools. Long used for disinfecting drinking water, UV-C is also ideal for disinfecting public transportation, as well as offices, industrial, retail, and public buildings. It has a vital role to play in helping to protect people and in preparing and maintaining public facilities for when activities resume.
    drinking water UV-C

    Long used for disinfecting drinking water, UV-C is also ideal for disinfecting public transportation, as well as offices, industrial, retail, and public buildings"

    The Signify Foundation has purchased UV-C air and surface disinfection systems and donated them to hospitals in China, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Spain and Turkey, with more countries to follow.

    Systems acquired from OEMs include air disinfection units suitable for use in rooms where COVID-19-infected patients are being treated. These ceiling-mounted units rely on natural or mechanical ventilation in the room. Contaminated air, at an upper level, passes through a ‘UV-zone’ where it’s disinfected.

    The Foundation also donated mobile UV-C units that can be wheeled to parts of a hospital for the disinfection of surfaces. One of the first hospitals to receive such units was the 1,000-bed Huoshenshan Hospital, in Wuhan, China. This is the hospital which grabbed headlines for being built in just 10 days.

    ONCE BioShift® UV-C germicidal chambers have also been donated and pressed into action. After five minutes of exposure to UV-C radiation, the items inside the chamber can be reused safely.

    Safety First

    UV-C lighting is a technology whose time has surely come. It represents a highly effective means of disinfection and greatly limits the use of chemicals. However, it must be used with care and systems installed, managed and disposed of professionally.

    Exposure to UV-C radiation can quickly burn the skin and cause eye damage. It’s vital that all safety instructions are followed, and shielding is in place and people absent when necessary, depending on the type of system being used.

    We foresee wide-ranging applications for UV-C that extend well beyond the disinfection of hospitals. But for now, it’s gratifying to know that the lighting technology we’re providing is on the front line helping to eliminate the spread of the virus.

    About the author:

    Neil Pattie

    Neil Pattie 


    Integrated Communications

    For further information, please contact:

    Signify Global Integrated Communications
    Neil Pattie
    Tel: + 31 6 15 08 48 17

    About Signify


    Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) is the world leader in lighting for professionals and consumers and lighting for the Internet of Things. Our Philips products, Interact connected lighting systems and data-enabled services, deliver business value and transform life in homes, buildings and public spaces. In 2022, we had sales of EUR 7.5 billion, approximately 35,000 employees and a presence in over 70 countries. We unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world. We achieved carbon neutrality in 2020, have been in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index since our IPO for six consecutive years and were named Industry Leader in 2017, 2018 and 2019. News from Signify is located at the Newsroom, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Information for investors can be found on the Investor Relations page.

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