How Does UV Light Generate Ozone?

Ozone is a natural disinfectant and deodorant that is produced when Ultraviolet-V (UV-V at 185 nanometers) light interacts with oxygen. Contrary to popular belief, UV-C light does not generate ozone. However, the shorter UV-V wavelength of light actually breaks down oxygen into atomic oxygen, a highly unstable atom that combines with oxygen to form O3 (ozone).A 185 nm UV lamp emits ultraviolet energy at 185 nm, which has been proven to effectively produce ozone.

This UV energy at wavelengths below 220 nm decompresses oxygen (O²) to produce ozone (O³)


UV germicidal lamps are designed to emit the most effective wavelength of UV radiation, measured in nanometers (nm). Interestingly, UV light at the wavelength of 240-315 nm will break this third oxygen atom at the top and convert it back to oxygen. The maximum ozone concentrations with low-pressure UV lamps are usually 0.5% with air and 1% with oxygen. These concentrations are not enough for most water treatment applications, since the solubility of ozone in water is very low at low ozone concentrations. However, these 185 nm UV lights are found in a wide range of air treatment systems and water sterilization applications.

This allows the optimal wavelength produced by a 185 nm or 254 nm mercury arc of UV light to pass through unchanged.

Pamela Endreson
Pamela Endreson

Professional zombie maven. Unapologetic coffee geek. Friendly social media aficionado. Award-winning twitter advocate. Total web maven. Certified twitter practitioner.