UV virus protection glass - biologically effective surface disinfection using microstructured glass coated with titanium dioxide (TiO2)

Measurement sample  to determine the emitted scattered radiation in the UV-A range
© Fraunhofer IBP
Measurement sample of the prototype, installed in the integrating sphere of the Fraunhofer IBP, to determine the emitted scattered radiation in the UV-A range.

Effective disinfection technologies have been an important topic not only since the Covid-19 pandemic but have increasingly been in the public spotlight since then. The basic idea of this project was to further develop a glass coated with titanium dioxide (TiO2), which generates reactive oxygen species through a photocatalytic process and thus reduces the viral and bacterial load, into a practically applicable transparent virus protection element. Fraunhofer IBP, in collaboration with Fraunhofer IGB and other project partners, has developed a product-oriented prototype that increases this effect through edge-coupling of UV-A radiation via LEDs and laser microstructuring. The virus protection glass can improve hygiene at sales counters, in kitchens, in refrigerators as well as in the medical field.

Project goals

Within the framework of the "KMU akut" cluster project "CAmPUS UV-C" – Competence-Center for the Assessment of Products with Ultraviolet Sterilization (in German), funded by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the possible applications and the optimization of virus protection glasses were developed for the company Glas Gasser. When investigating the various options for additional activation of the titanium dioxide (TiO2) coated glass, the concept developed by Fraunhofer IBP for vertical side coupling in combination with a microstructured glass surface proved to be the best variant. The effectiveness of this system was demonstrated by simulations with the ray tracing software Zemax and by measurements of prototypes in the integrating sphere.

In a follow-up project, the microstructured and titanium dioxide (TiO2) coated glasses were then further developed and evaluated by measurements.

Project results

After developing various concepts and several iteration levels in product development, including simulation and measurements, a functioning and product-oriented prototype was developed and manufactured.

The LEDs and their positioning were determined based on the calculation and simulation to efficiently couple the UV-A radiation into the system. The laser-structured scattering elements were designed for maximum transparency through the glass and optimum uniformity of radiation distribution within the virus protection glass. Measurements have shown that a significant increase in the activation of the photocatalytic process is possible, resulting in faster inactivation of viruses and bacteria.

Project partners

  • Glas Gasser GmbH
  • Pilkington Holding GmbH
  • Fraunhofer Austria Research
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB
  • polyscale GmbH & Co. KG
Polygon object in optical simulation program Zemax
© Fraunhofer IBP
Polygon object with scattering elements imported into the optical simulation program Zemax.
Simulation result of a virus protection glass with microstructured pane
© Fraunhofer IBP
Simulation result of a virus protection glass with microstructured pane and UV-A side coupling, carried out with the Zemax software.
pane with activated UV-A LEDs
© Fraunhofer IBP
Microstructured pane with activated UV-A LEDs.
Transparency through the virus protection glass with UV-A LEDs switched on
© Fraunhofer IBP
Transparency through the virus protection glass is maintained even with the UV-A LEDs switched on.