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UV Ultraviolet lamps
UV light, short for Ultraviolet Light, is a type of light energy making up one part of the electromagnetic spectrum, which spectrum includes gamma and x-rays, UV light, visible light, infrared rays, microwaves, and radio waves, listed in order of decreasing frequency and increasing wavelength. UV light thus has a wavelength shorter than that of visible light, and can not be detected by the human eye. While UV light itself is invisible, it causes many substances to glow or fluoresce in a variety of colors visible to the human eye. This ability to make the invisible visible makes UV lamps valuable for mineral prospecting, criminal investigations, postal stamp evaluation, etc. UV light is divided, at a minimum, into both Shortwave and Longwave radiation. Shortwave UV is produced by low pressure mercury arcs, with a wavelength of 254 nanometers, while Longwave, produced by low to high pressure mercury arcs, has a wavelength of from 320 to 400 nanometers. A nanometer is a unit of length used to define wavelengths of energies in the electromagnetic spectrum, equaling one millionth of a millimeter. While Longwave UV, sometimes referred to as blacklight, is safe, Shortwave UV can irritate the eyes and burn the skin, so exposure should be controlled and ideally, UV goggles should be worn to prevent eye damage from inadvertently looking at the light source.
UV lamps typically come in both portable models and as permanent display units, offering one or more wavelengths depending on the model. The basic elements of a UV lamp include the power source, the ultraviolet light bulb, and the filter. UV light bulbs are constructed of a special high silica glass, or of quartz in the finest quality. They are rated by wattage, not unlike a bulb in your house lamp, so this can be an indication of your lamp's brightness. However, this is not a hard and fast rule because the way in which a UV lamp is powered and designed also affects its brightness. Shortwave bulbs appear clear when off. Longwave bulbs, having phosphors on the inside, with or without integral filters, appear white or black (blacklight) when turned off. Along with ultraviolet light, all UV lamps emit some visible light, too, which tends to mask any fluorescence, so special dark purple glass filters are placed over the bulb to block the visible light, while allowing as much UV light to still pass through. Longwave filters, which have a relatively coarse surface appearance, last indefinitely. Keep in mind that the darker your surrounds, the easier it will be to observe the effects of fluorescence from your UV lamp. Depending upon how bright your lamp is, you may or may not be able to use it in the daylight.
Ultraviolet lights have many uses: