An ultraviolet lamp, or Black-light Lamp, is a device that produces electromagnetic radiations in the wavelengths between visible light and X-rays. Sunrays are rich in black light. It is referred to as black light because it is invisible to the unaided eye.
The ultraviolet lamp consists of an electric discharge lamp having materials that yield radiations to the desired wavelength. These lamps are usually housed in quartz or special glass that transmit radiation fast, compared to common glass.
Around the 1900s, Danish physician Niels Ryberg Finsen developed ultraviolet lamps for medical use for their germicidal qualities.
Wood’s glass is an optical filter glass. It was invented in 1903 by American physicist Robert Williams Wood (1868–1955). This glass allows ultraviolet and infrared light to pass through while blocking most of the visible light.
Wood’s glass was used in communications during World War I. The glass filters infrared (daylight communications) and ultraviolet (night communications). Since there is no visible light beam, what is left is an “invisible radiation” as a signal beam.
Wood’s glass is made of barium-sodium-silicate glass with about 9% nickel oxide. A violet-blue glass, opaque to all visible light with the exception of the longest red and shortest violet.
Bulbs made of Wood’s glass are hazardous since the reduced visible light output may cause observers to be exposed to unsafe levels of UV. The low output of black lights is not sufficient to cause DNA damage or cellular mutations. However, but excessive exposure to UV can cause temporary or permanent eye damage.
Some types of UV lamps
Short-wave ultraviolet lamps
Short-wave ultraviolet lamps are made with fluorescent lamp tubes without phosphor coating, composed of fused quartz or vycor. Quartz or vycor are used since ordinary glass absorbs UV‑C. This type of UV lamp emits bluish-white visible light. This is a “germicidal” lamp used for disinfection of surfaces in laboratories and food-processing industries, and for disinfecting water supplies.
A ‘Black light’ incandescent lamp is made of an incandescent light bulb with a coating that absorbs most of the visible light. Halogen lamps fused with quartz envelopes are inexpensive UV light sources from 400–300 nm. A filament light bulb is an inefficient UV source; emitting less than a percent of its energy as UV.
UV gas-discharge lamps with different gases produce UV radiation for scientific purposes. Argon and deuterium arc lamps were often used as stable sources.
UV lamps used in tanning beds
Most tanning beds employ long fluorescent bulbs. Tanning bed lamps have many sizes. The popular sizes are F71 and F73. The F denotes that a fluorescent lamp is used, and the number following is the length in inches
There are T5, T8, and T12 fluorescent lamps. The T indicates lamp tube diameter in eighth-inch increments. T8 lamps are an inch (2.54 cm) in diameter, and T12 lamps are 1.5 inches (3.81 cm) in diameter. All T5 tubes are 5/8 inch (1.59 cm) in diameter but are available in varying lengths.
UV tanning VS chemical tanning
When our skin is exposed to the sun, the most common response of our bodies is to hide from it. Though, there are times when our bodies crave that UV light from the sun; for health reasons. Then again, too much of something is bad.
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