UV Light

We know that light is a form of energy and electromagnetic fields produce electromagnetic radiation. Electromagnetic spectrum consists of gamma-rays, X-rays, ultraviolet rays (UV light), infrared rays, radio waves, and microwaves. In this article, let us learn about UV light in detail.

Table of Contents:

What Is UV Light?

UV light (ultraviolet light) has a wavelength between 10 and 400 nm that is shorter than the visible light but longer than the X-rays and is a type of electromagnetic radiation. These are present in sunlight and contribute 10% of the total light from the sun.

UV Light

UV rays

Types of UV light

UV light or UV ray is classified into three components: ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB), and ultraviolet C (UVC). Following is the table explaining the characteristics of these components:

  • Ultraviolet A (UVA):
    • Most of the UV (98.7%) that reaches us on the earth’s surface is of type UVA and is affected by the ozone
    • Fading of paints and dyes.
    • UVA causes early aging of the skin.
    • UVA causes skin cancer called melanoma.
  • Ultraviolet B (UVB):
    • 1.3% of the UV reaches the earth’s surface and is highly affected by ozone.
    • These rays are responsible for sunburn and tan.
    • For the production of vitamin D, 270-300 nm wavelengths are stimulated.
  • Ultraviolet C (UVC):
    • UVC rays do not reach the earth’s surface as most of them are absorbed by the atmospheric nitrogen, oxygen, and ozone, and the rest are scattered.
    • UVC causes lesions on the skin.

Below is the experiment to understand how UV protection is obtained using sunglasses.

How Does Sunglasses Work?


The main objective of this science model is to know about the protection which is offered by sunglasses and sunscreens to ultraviolet light. The experiment helps you in understanding how to block the ultraviolet light. The experiments here are compared and quantified to the effectiveness of the sunscreens with various strengths, ages, and brands under a different set of conditions.


Ultraviolet light-sensitive disks are the ones that are used in testing the amount of light able to make its way through the sunscreen or some protective surface. When these disks absorb the ultraviolet light, the color change takes place to red or blue based upon the kind of disk selected. Both physics, and chemistry-based analyses, have been performed. In physics-based analysis, the blocking of ultraviolet light rays is measured usually by performing color-related experiments on a computer.

In particular, the images of control, as well as the test groups of the disks are taken out with the help of a digital camera. The disks are exposed to a known amount of UV light. On the exposure, disks change colors. The change in the color, which is said to be proportional to the amount of the absorption of UV light, is found out by measuring the saturation of color. Later quantitative experiments are performed for large numbers of images, and the results are said to be evaluated based on the composition of chemicals present in sunscreen.


As per the results obtained from the experiment, the combination of various ingredients and the SPF has a significant effect based on the efficiency of the sunscreen.

The Standard Protection Factor (SPF) of any sunscreen and the chemical composition are the two most important considerations while deciding as to which sunscreen can be used in different environmental conditions to block the UV light rays.

Hope you have understood what ultraviolet light (UV Light) is. Stay tuned with BYJU’S to learn more about other physics-related articles.

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Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs


What is light?

Light is a form of energy that causes the sensation of vision.

Name the rays included in the electromagnetic spectrum.

The rays included in the electromagnetic spectrum are:
  • Gamma-rays
  • X-rays
  • Ultraviolet rays
  • Infrared rays
  • Radio waves
  • Microwaves

What is UV light?

UV light (ultraviolet light) is a type of electromagnetic radiation having a wavelength between 10 and 400 nm.

Types of UV light?

Types of UV light are:
  • Ultraviolet A (UVA)
  • Ultraviolet B (UVB)
  • Ultraviolet C (UVC)

State true or false: UV light is shorter than the visible light but longer than the X-rays.


See the video below, to understand what is meant by light

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