Laboratory evaluation of the broad-spectrum antibacterial efficacy of a low-irradiance visible 405-nm light system for surface-simulated decontamination

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Purpose: Lighting systems which use visible light blended with antimicrobial 405-nm violet-blue light have recently been developed for safe continuous decontamination of occupied healthcare environments. This paper characterises the optical output and antibacterial efficacy of a low irradiance 405-nm light system designed for environmental decontamination applications, under controlled laboratory conditions. Methods: In the current study, the irradiance output of a ceiling-mounted 405-nm light source was profiled within a 3×3×2 m (18 m 3) test area; with values ranging from 0.001-2.016 mWcm -2. To evaluate antibacterial efficacy of the light source for environmental surface decontamination, irradiance levels within this range (0.021-1 mWcm -2) at various angular (Δ ϴ=0-51.3) and linear (∆s=1.6-2.56 m) displacements from the source were used to generate inactivation kinetics, using the model organism, Staphylococcus aureus. Additionally, twelve bacterial species were surface-seeded and light-exposed at a fixed displacement below the source (1.5 m; 0.5 mWcm -2) to demonstrate broad-spectrum efficacy at heights typical of high touch surfaces within occupied settings. Results: Results demonstrate that significant (P≤0.05) inactivation was successfully achieved at all irradiance values investigated, with spatial positioning from the source affecting inactivation, with greater times required for inactivation as irradiance decreased. Complete/near-complete (≥93.28%) inactivation of all bacteria was achieved following exposure to 0.5 mWcm -2 within exposure times realistic of those utilised practically for whole-room decontamination (2-16 h). Conclusion: This study provides fundamental evidence of the efficacy, and energy efficiency, of low irradiance 405-nm light for bacterial inactivation within a controlled laboratory setting, further justifying its benefits for practical infection control applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-629
Number of pages15
JournalHealth and Technology
Issue number4
Early online date14 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2023


  • 405nm light
  • violet-blue light
  • antibacterial
  • environmental decontamination system
  • environmental decontamination
  • bacteria


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