The History & Scientific Foundations of UVC Technology

The Science Behind UVC Technology

There is a good reason for the fact that UVC technology is being embraced in various different ways, and that is because it works! Ultraviolet light is a form of electromagnetic radiation, which has shorter wavelengths than visible light.

It is possible to break down ultraviolet light (UV) light into various ranges, such as short range UV (UVC). UVC is what is commonly referred to as being the “germicidal UV.” Over roughly the last 100 years, short wave UV radiation in the “C” band, which ranges from 200 to 280 nanometers, has been used for germicidal purposes.

UVC spectrum

How UVC Works

UV in the 1800s

People are often surprised to learn just how long man has known about UV light and its ability to kill a wide range of dangerous microorganisms. Since the late 1800s, germicidal lamps employing UV light have been used to kill a range of various types of microorganisms. In particular, the focus has been on microorganisms that can cause indoor air quality and contamination issues, such as bacteria, viruses, mold and yeast all of which can have a profound negative impact on human health in various ways.

It is important to note that certain UV wavelength bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms are mutagenic. At a wavelength of 2,527 Angstroms (254nm), UV breaks down the molecular bonds within micro-organismal DNC. This effectively renders these bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms harmless and prohibits growth and reproduction through the production of thymine dimers into their DNA. This means that the microorganisms effectively have less protection from UV, which makes it essentially impossible for them to survive prolonged exposure.

UVGI Systems

A UVGI system is one that employs UV exposure in different environments, such as water tanks, sealed rooms and forced air systems. UVGI systems can kill bacteria in any of these environments.

Germicidal lamps are used to emit germicidal UV electromagnetic radiation at the correct wavelength exposure for irradiating the environment in question whether it is water tanks, sealed rooms or forced air systems. This process is further aided by the use of forced air or water flowing through the environment to ensure proper exposure to the germicidal UV wavelengths.

UV in the Early 20th Century – Finsen Lamps

In 1903, Niels Ruberg Finsen was awarded a Nobel Prize for his work in medicine. Finsen was the first to use UV rays as a means of treating disease. Additionally Finsen is credited for inventing the Finsen curative lamp, which was used through the 1950s.

By 1908, UVC was being put to some very novel uses in Marseille, France, where the technology was used to disinfect the municipal water supply. This was the first use of UVC in this fashion. By 1916, the first use of UVC for the disinfection of a water supplies occurred in the United States. To this day, UV treatment of wastewater is still being used in cities such as Edmonton, Alberta. In fact, the use of UV for treating water has become a common practice in municipal water treatment.

It was through an effort by research and development scientists at Westinghouse Electric Company that UV lamps first became commercially available. Their first use was in hospitals. Additionally, UV lamps were sold with water filters to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to disinfect water sources. These first UV lamps were basic, but they were also very effective.

UV in the late 1940s and early1950s – Gaining in Use

By the late 1940s and early 1950s, UVC was gaining in popularity. Soon UVC was being used for air sterilization in a range of environments including: hospitals, breweries, dairies, bakeries, kitchens, meat storage facilities and other areas where microbiological contamination was an issue or concern. Commonly, a UVC beam was directed across the ceiling of a room to facilitate sterilization. Medical applications included using UVC in air handling equipment to control tuberculosis.

1960s – A Reduced Popularity for UVC

Despite both its cost effectiveness and its effectiveness in sterilization, UVC began to fall out of favor. The explanation for this was that during the 1960s the concern regarding microbes began to waver due to the introduction of a range of sterilizing cleaners and more powerful new drugs. A further reason to explain this drop in UVC’s popularity was that mechanical ventilation systems became more popular, and UVC served to reduce the effectiveness of cooling systems.

1970s and 1980s – A Time of Technological Advancement

The technological progress of the 1970s and 1980s had a direct impact on UVC. UVC also enjoyed a resurgence in use and interest for due to the growing concern over chemical use and its potential impact on the environment and human health. This aspect coupled with significant improvements to UVC bulbs served to boost the interest in and popularity of UVC technology.

1990s and UVC

During the early 1990s, UVGI was used in many municipal water treatment facilities as well as incorporated into swimming pool treatment. By 1996, UVC was introduced in HCAC systems, and this allowed for companies to produce high-output UV germicidal devices.

Today – UVGI and miniZapr

Before the introduction of the miniZapr, the treatment method used was to pass the medium over the UVC source. Thanks to this technology, a new option is available. The miniZapr solved the problem of portable power, and this led to the introduction of highly effective mobile sterilization in a small and lightweight package.

miniZapr’s Highly-Effective Specialized UVC Bulbs, Controls and Light Modules


Employing high-intensity mercury-vapor lamps with a protective teflon coating in case of breakage, miniZapr bulbs are safe, durable and built to last!

Your health and safety is our number one priority at UVC Serrvices. This is why the miniZapr incorporates motion shut-off functionality and light-bed lift shut-off.

Every aspect of miniZapr’s design has been taken into careful consideration. Our central control module allows for optimum voltage by monitoring and measuring the power of all lights.