The Electromagnetic Spectrum - Ultraviolet Rays

UV rays lie in the wavelength range from around 10 nm to around 400 nm and have a frequency between the ranges 800 THz to 30 PHz. UV radiation is harmful as continuous exposure to these will result in skin and eye diseases. It also results in the aging of the skin. On the other hand, it is the best source of natural vitamin D, which is essential for human growth. UV rays have a shorter wavelength range than visible light and therefore cannot be seen by human beings. There are some insects like bumblebees which actually can see ultraviolet rays.

Although the earth is open to a large amount of UV ray exposure from the sun, most of it is absorbed by the ozone layer in the atmosphere. Black lights, mercury lamps, and tanning lights (in tanning salons) are different sources of ultraviolet rays.

Discovery of Ultraviolet Rays

The discovery of ultraviolet rays is a very interesting story. During the 1800s, a guy named Johann Ritter wanted to check the existence of waves beyond the visible spectrum of light. At the time, it was known that photographic film turned black faster in blue light than red. Ritter exposed this film to beyond violet and as expected, the film turned black. This proved the existence of ultraviolet rays.

UV lamps emit radiation that is enough to kill germs. They are used in healthcare to sterilize surgical instruments. UV rays are also used in the purification of water and the pharmaceutical industry.

Frequently Asked Questions โ€“ FAQs


What is meant by electromagnetic spectrum?

The electromagnetic spectrum is the representation of the whole distribution of electromagnetic radiation based on wavelength or frequency. Each type of electromagnetic wave moves at light speed in a vacuum, but they all have distinct energy states, wavelengths, and frequencies.

Define ultraviolet radiation.

Ultraviolet radiation is a type of electromagnetic radiation with a frequency from 30 PHz to 750 THz and a wavelength from 10 nm to 400 nm. These rays have shorter wavelengths than visible light and longer wavelengths than X-rays.

What are the uses of ultraviolet radiation?

Ultraviolet radiation is extensively used in medical and dental treatments. Specific applications include generating fluorescent effects, eradicating microorganisms like bacteria, curing resins and inks, suntanning, and phototherapy.

What are the health effects of ultraviolet radiation?

Direct ultraviolet exposure may potentially lead to eye-blinding diseases. Exposure to UV radiation could cause premature ageing of the skin, and signs of such effects are livers spots, wrinkles, solar elastosis, and actinic keratosis.

What are the artificial sources of ultraviolet radiation?

Tanning beds, mercury vapour lighting, ultraviolet lasers, and ultraviolet lamps are some of the familiar artificial sources of UV radiation.
To know more about UV rays and their uses watch our video modules for free with BYJUโ€™S – The Learning App.

Test Your Knowledge On The Electromagnetic Spectrum Ultraviolet Rays!


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