Frequently Asked Questions

UV-C is ultraviolet (UV) light using wavelengths in the C range. It has shorter wavelengths and is the strongest energy form of UV. UV-C has the energy to disinfect and destroy pathogens of all types including viruses, bacteria, spores, and other microorganisms. UV-C can also disinfect air, water, and surfaces, and render pathogens harmless by disrupting and breaking down both DNA and RNA bonds. Furthermore, UV-C energy can break down certain chemicals and produce powerful oxidants for the elimination of odors. UV-C disinfection capabilities for specific pathogens are proven by years of scientific research, supported by independent studies, and further confirmed by meta studies.

The ultraviolet spectrum is divided into three major categories of strength, which are determined by the wavelengths measured in nanometers (nm). Shorter wavelengths have more energy, and thus, are stronger. The three categories of UV are: UV-A (315–400 nm), UV-B (280–315 nm), and UV-C (100–280 nm). UV-C can be further subdivided into germicidal UV (UVGI, 250–280 nm), far-UVC (200–230 nm), and vacuum-UV (VUV, 100–200 nm).

UV Range NameWavelength in nm
  • Scientifically proven to kill pathogens of all types.
  • The vacuum-UV (VUV) range eliminates many volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as chemical fumes and odors. It can be used to not only treat the air, but eliminate VOCs on surfaces, in contents, and other hard to reach areas.
  • Safe and economical compared to other cleaning methods, such as those requiring chemicals and sprays.
  • Can be used periodically for cleaning and disinfection, or always remain running to constantly destroy pathogens and VOCs as they are introduced into an environment.
  • Can be used as a primary cleaning process or as part of a multibarrier approach when combined with other cleaning methods.
Certain ranges of UV-C can break apart the chemical bonds of VOCs. Germicidal UV (UVGI) is generally not strong enough to do this. Instead, vacuum-UV (VUV), with much stronger energy, is used to break the chemical bonds of these compounds. Therefore, devices that produce VUV are extremely effective at eliminating VOCs passing through the machine. VUV is also capable of producing ozone and other powerful oxidants by reacting with oxygen molecules that travel through the machine. These oxidants are then used to eliminate VOCs and odors on surfaces, in contents, and other hard to reach areas.
Germicidal UV (UVGI) is absorbed by the DNA and RNA of microorganisms, which changes their structure. This change also destroys the ability of the affected pathogens to reproduce, so they can no longer infect or be harmful. This process is known as “photodimerization”. The most common lamp used to produce UVGI radiation is the low-pressure mercury vapor lamp at 253.7 nm. This is near the peak UVGI wavelength of 265 nm to inactivate microorganisms.

The correct term for UV-C dosage, or strength, is fluence. Fluence is the amount of UV irradiation that is produced by a UV-C device and is expressed as mJ /cm2 (millijoules per square centimeter). Fluence can be measured, and the International Ultraviolet Association (IUVA) collects and makes available years of data and underlying scientific publications for known fluences required to inactivate specific pathogens. 

UV-C lamps can pose safety risks depending on the UV-C, dose, and duration of radiation exposure. Direct exposure of skin and eyes to UV-C radiation may cause injury to the eyes and skin. Never look directly at a powered UV-C lamp source, even briefly, without proper UV protective gear. Some UV-C lamps generate ozone. Ozone above certain concentrations can be harmful to people, pets, and plants. UV-C can degrade certain materials like rubber or plastics depending on intensity and exposure time. Most UV-C lamps contain only a few milligrams of mercury; however, mercury is toxic and considered a hazardous material. UV-C lamps should be disposed of properly. Check with local regulators or the proper recycling center to dispose of UV-C lamps. If a lamp breaks while operating or handling, be sure to use proper care. We recommend establishing proper ventilation and using a sealed bag to dispose of any glass shards.

Ozone (O3) is a gas molecule that contains three oxygen atoms. A VUV lamp at 185 nm wavelength will create ozone by splitting an oxygen molecule (O2) into two oxygen atoms (O). These two oxygen atoms can attach to other oxygen molecules which creates ozone (O+O2➝O3).

Germicidal UV (UVGI) with wavelengths of 254 nm will break apart ozone. A lamp configuration which includes both VUV and UVGI should destroy most, but not all, ozone before it exits the chamber. The amount of ozone produced will vary depending on how much VUV and UVGI is used.

All Airbotx machines use UV-C lamps, but the types of UV-C wavelengths differ depending on models. The Airbot 290X is designed for germicidal use, only contains UVGI, and does not produce any ozone. The Airbot 390X and Airbot 490X are designed for odor and germicidal applications, contain both VUV and UVGI, and do produce low levels of ozone.

The Airbot 390X and Airbot 490X are configured so that most of the ozone is destroyed before exiting the chamber of the machines. However, because some ozone is still emitted, it is important to follow the operating instructions and warning labels, and to monitor ozone levels when used in occupied areas.

Yes, Airbotx machines do produce radicals and other oxidants. This is because various chemical reactions occur both inside and outside the chambers of Airbotx machines.

Hydroxyl radicals, for example, are formed in the chamber of Airbotx machines that use VUV. Oxygen molecules (O2) can be split into two oxygen atoms (O) and react with moisture in the ambient air (H2O) to form two hydroxyl radicals (O + H2O ➝ OH + OH).

Hydroxyl radicals are short-lived, highly reactive, and begin a chain of chemical reactions which create other species of radicals. These oxidants can travel through the air to break apart VOCs and odors outside of the Airbotx machines.

UV lamps should be cleaned using a solution of 1-part isopropyl alcohol and 10-parts filtered/distilled water.

Use a clean, lint-free cloth and latex gloves to avoid fingerprints and smudges. Fingerprints and smudges can diminish the performance of the lamps.

The Airbotx UV-C lamps have a lifespan of approximately 13,000 hours. However, the lamps gradually lose power over time. We recommend replacing them after they have been used for 10,000 hours.

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