Common Applications for Ultraviolet LEDs

Ultraviolet light is electromagnetic radiation outside the visible light spectrum. It is a useful technology with multiple applications. Let us explore a few….

  • UV curing:Used in applications from manufacturing to dentistry, UV light can be used to cure a chemical substrate including various inks, varnishes, lacquers, and finishes. A high-intensity UV light cures these substances through polymerisation into instantly fixed-in-place solids. This provides products with a strengthened outer coating, which is beneficial to products needing increased durability to survive in demanding environments such as industrial, automotive, and aerospace applications. It is a popular curing method due to its instantaneous effect at a low cost and risk. Standard speeds for this process are around 1-30seconds, with higher intensity light leading to faster cures.
  • Artificial tanning:UVA radiation is the wavelength emitted by the sun that cause human skin to tan. This occurs as the UVA radiation penetrate through to the deep layers of the epidermis (skin), where they trigger melanocyte cells to produce melanin. Melanin is the brown pigment that causes tanning and occurs as the body’s natural defence to protect the skin from sunburn. Tanning solons utilise UV lamps to offer clientele a way to enjoy a suntan all year round, from man-made technology. Though there are risks of over-exposure to UV radiation from stuff applications which should be considered.
  • Medical – Phototherapy:Medical applications are an interesting area utilising UV technology. UV radiation through phototherapy can have many medical benefits to a variety of skin conditions such as acne, jaundice, psoriasis, eczema and even conditions like seasonal depression and some skin cancers. The target areas will be exposed to the UV rays for short set time period, shutting down immune system cells in that area of skin, triggering biologic processes that minimise inflammation and prevent skin cells from generating and growing too fast.
  • Germicidal sterilisation and disinfection: Within this application the most effective UV wavelengths used are UVC and UVB. Germicidal lamps and UVC LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) kill bacteria on a targeted surface, as irradiating bacteria with UVC changes the helix structure of the DNA and RNA within those bacteria, inactivating them and disenabling their proliferation. Bacteria and viruses proliferate, by cell division based on genetic information, to cause infection and illness. DNA and RNA hold the genetic information necessary for this proliferation to occur. Today, UVC technology is a first choice for many industries that require water, air, or surface sterilisation, as it is a highly effective method. Learn more about it here:
  • Black lights: Often used in entertainment and decorative visual effect settings, such as nightclubs or amusement parks. When emitted UVA radiation gives off a light that is invisible to the human eye, but when this light bounces off certain surfaces’ it appears to glow. This glow occurs when the emitted UV rays is converted into visible light by particles called phosphors that reside in certain surfaces and materials. Phosphors hit by UV rays become charged and naturally fluoresce, or in other words, glow. As well as recreational applications blacklights are also commonly used in forensic applications such as crime scene investigations. They can be an essential tool for forensic investigations by police to detect substances that may not be visually obvious to the human eye – most bodily fluids, bone and teeth are naturally fluorescent under a UV black light.



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