Like infrared, ultraviolet is a form of electromagnetic radiation. Ultraviolet light is emitted naturally by the sun. It also occurs in tanning beds, lasers and (industrial) lighting.

Ultraviolet light uses wavelength, represented in nanometres. To clarify: 1 nanometre is equal to 0.000000001 metres.


With a wavelength of 315-399 nm, Ultraviolet A (UVA) is almost not absorbed by the ozone layer. This type of UV light passes through glass and clothing and causes fabrics and paints to discolour. UVA provides a tan but ages the skin and can cause melanomas.

To a large extent, the ozone layer absorbs Ultraviolet B (UVB), which has a wavelength of 280-315 nm. This type of UV light does not pass through the ordinary glass but does pass through quartz glass. UVB tans and burns your skin but can also cause skin cancer. The wavelengths 270-300 nm ensure the production of vitamin D.

Third, the ozone layer can completely absorb Ultraviolet C (UVC). UVC has a wavelength of 100-280 nm. This type of radiation is detrimental and destroys the DNA and RNA of micro-organisms.

UVA, UVB and UVC are all great for disinfection. However, UVC is the only type of UV radiation that is intense enough to combat pathogens. For this reason, hospitals have been using UVC lighting for decades. More advanced technologies also use ultraviolet C, such as Infralia’s own UVC Airflow.

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