This article is translated from Dutch

See-Through Superheroes: How Quartz Glass Powers UV-C Disinfection

This article uncovers quartz's vital role in healthcare, enabling UV-C disinfection and boosting mercury lamps safety, deeply revolutionizing infection prevention practices.

See-Through Superheroes: How Quartz Glass Powers UV-C Disinfection

When you think of quartz, you might imagine a pretty gemstone or perhaps the mysterious workings of a watch. But this compound also acts as an invisible hero, fighting infection! Because quartz glass is only made from the very purest quartz crystals, it has many exceptional properties including strength, ability to withstand high temperatures and extraordinary chemical resistance. [1]

The science behind the magic

Quartz is actually formed from two everyday elements: oxygen and silicon. The compounds join together as tetrahedrons, or triangular pyramids [2]. Billions of these miniscule pyramids stack together to form a crystal. When melted down at very high temperatures (around 2000°C) it creates a sheet of completely clear quartz glass – our invisible hero [3].

The total transparency of quartz glass makes it ideal for enabling UV-C disinfection. UV-C light has a short wavelength, between 200 and 280nm , and ordinary glass will absorb this rather than letting it pass through [4]. The crystal structure of quartz glass is different and will not block germicidal UV-C light. This makes quartz glass the perfect material to use as a housing for ultraviolet lamps. A quartz sleeve on a UV-C lamp will prevent dust or dirt from affecting the performance of the lamp, while allowing the germ-killing rays to do their job.

Cleaner and safer healthcare

Mercury lamps have a long history of providing high-intensity lighting. They have been lighting streets and other large areas for over a century [5]. In healthcare settings, they are proven effective at delivering UV-C light for germicidal purposes.

It is possible that in future, UV-C technology advancements may make mercury lamps obsolete. But for now, no better alternative exists.  For an LED device to achieve the disinfection capacity of UV Smart’s D25, it would need to have 400 LEDs – a completely unaffordable quantity. This means that mercury lamps are here to stay for at least a few more years.

In the meantime, quartz glass tubes make mercury lamps safer to use because they are harder to break than ordinary fluorescent lamp tubes. They have an impressively high compressive strength compared to other types of glass, as well as being highly resistant to thermal shocks. This makes quartz glass a very safe material for use in a healthcare setting.

The discovery of germs was a turning point in medicine because it gave us power over these microscopic sources of illness and death. Since then, there have been many other, smaller breakthroughs. The development of UV-C disinfection is one of the most powerful healthcare innovations of recent decades because it makes cleaning surgical instruments and medical spaces quick, easy and foolproof. Conventional cleaning processes can be complex and take hours: labelling, transporting the instruments to a dedicated cleaning space, waiting for the chemicals to do their work. UV-C disinfection does the same job in a couple of minutes.

It is truly a transformative process and one that has the potential to save many lives by making infection prevention so much easier.

But UV-C disinfection wouldn’t be possible without quartz glass. This dream team of UV-C light and quartz glass is a true superhero duo, fighting germs to bring us all a cleaner and safer world.







Tommaso Allegri
Marketing Coordinator