Clearing the Air on UVGI

by | Oct 14, 2023

How safe is the air we breathe? It’s an important question these days, but not a new one. In fact, technology was being applied to the problem almost a century ago. That technology was–and still is–Ultra Violet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI). Invented in 1937, UVGI is still in use today and, thanks to Pulsed Light, it’s becoming more effective than ever.

Let’s take a closer look at this important and continually improving technology.

How UVGI works

UVGI utilizes a particular range of the visible spectrum, UV-C light, to kill pathogens in the air, water, and various products. This specific wavelength of light works by destroying or deactivating the DNA in pathogens, rendering them harmless

UVGI is ideal for air treatment. Think of it as scrubbing the air, the same way we scrub surfaces and instruments with germicidal chemicals like bleach. Except UVGI introduces only light into the air, not chemicals. This makes it ideal anywhere cleanliness and safety are important.

Over the decades, UVGI has been applied in various domains such as healthcare, food production, water treatment, and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems to maintain hygiene and safety by mitigating the risk of microbial contamination.

Now Pulsed Light is bringing the first big advance in UVGI applications in decades.

Why is Pulsed Light better?

Traditional systems use low-intensity light, and thus take a long time to work or have limited effectiveness. Pulsed Light delivers the same spectrum of UV-C light, but at extremely high energies in rapid, powerful bursts. This makes it more versatile and effective because it doesn’t require exposing the air for an extended time. Pulsed Light works almost instantly, usually in milliseconds depending on the setup. The result is faster, more complete irradiation.

Benefits of Pulsed Light include:

Enhanced Efficiency: The high-intensity pulses can achieve effective disinfection in significantly shorter time frames.
Adaptability: Pulsed Light systems can be configured in various forms, ensuring adaptability to diverse use-cases and industries.
Safety: With strategic shielding and safety protocols, Pulsed Light minimizes the risk of prolonged UV exposure, presenting a safe disinfection alternative.

The UVGI industry has taken notice, and products based on Pulsed Light are now available on the market for the most common air irradiation applications.

Where can you use Pulsed Light UVGI?

Pulsed Light air disinfection can be used anywhere air quality is important. This includes obvious places like hospitals, elder care centers, and food processing facilities. But it can also be considered for public buildings, especially with pandemic concerns still on our minds.

Michael Erlington, Sales Manager for JenAct, recently wrote a blog about UVGI applications on LinkedIn and I recommend checking it out. JenAct is a XENON partner in the U.K. that offers several products based on Pulsed Light. Michael describes three ways to use Pulsed Light for air purification.

Air ducts of an HVAC with Pulsed Light installed for air purification.


CIXL porduct hanging on wall, using UVGI for improved air quality.In-Duct: The Pulsed Light is installed in the air ducts of the HVAC system and purifies the air as it flows through, guided by fans if needed.

Standalone (Active): Pulsed Light is mounted on walls or ceiling within a stainless-steel enclosure, and fans are used to generate air flow.

Standalone (Passive): Similar to the above, except this approach does not use fans or attempt to contain the light within an enclosure. Instead, the Pulsed Light system is mounted on the walls, relying on normal air circulation in place of fans. For safety, the unit is placed above head length with louvres to prevent light from travelling downwards.

Where else can Pulsed Light be used?

There are many similar applications for UVGI beyond air irradiation, and wherever it’s used, Pulsed Light is the most effective approach. It can be used in healthcare to sterilize instruments and surfaces; in food production to ensure the safety and longevity of products by reducing microbial contamination; and even in water treatment to assist in purifying water without the use of chemicals.

Pulsed Light technology, with its rapid, high-intensity flashes of UV light, not only fortifies the capabilities of UVGI but also presents a leap forward in offering efficient, adaptable, and safe disinfection solutions across a myriad of applications.

If you’d like to learn how UVGI solutions powered by XENON Pure Pulse™ Technology can help with safety in your facility, contact XENON today.