The How Black lights works.

HOW BLACK LIGHTS WORKS
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How do black lights work?



Black lights are very entertaining objects. Hold them up to a “black light” poster and watch the images glow or stand under a black white and look at how white your t-shirt is. Black lights are so powerful at picking up these bright colours that even pieces of lint that you would never even notice are very noticeable when placed under a black light. But how do these lights work?

If a black light bulb were to be turned on in a completely dark room, a purplish colour would be produced. The purplish hue is the colour that the human eye can see but along with that glow is ultraviolet light that the human eye cannot detect. This is because the human eye sees colour on a broad spectrum that ranges from red to orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Ultraviolet is brighter than violet light and therefore, cannot be seen. A black light produces UVA light, which is different than UVB light, the type that causes much more damage.

The glow that can be seen under a black light is comprised of phosphors. A phosphor is something that produces light that can be seen with the human eye when it is exposed to radiation. The phosphors are able to do this because they can take the ultraviolet light that we can’t see and turn it into light that we can see.

There are different types of black lights although the standard type is a normal fluorescent light bulb with just a few variations. Fluorescent lights produce light by transferring electricity through a tube that contains inert gas and a tiny amount of mercury. Once the energy has passed through, the mercury atoms output energy in the form of light photons. Although some of the light photons that these lights produce are visible to the human eye, most of them are in the form of ultraviolet light. To make it visible to the human eye, there is a phosphor coating around the exterior of the tube.

Phosphors produce light when exposed to light when a photon comes into contact with a phosphor atom. When this happens, one of the phosphor’s electrons will gain a higher level of energy and this will cause the atom to vibrate and create heat. The electron will return to its normal state of energy and when that happens, it will release another photon, creating more energy. The photon will have a lower energy level than the photon that began the entire process because some energy was lost when the photon became heated. When this process takes place in a fluorescent, the result is the white light that we can see.

Although there are two different types of black light, they both work in the same type of way, operating off of the same principle. The two different types of black light are the tube black light and the incandescent black light bulb. The tube black light has the same phosphor coating that fluorescent white light tubes have on the outside but the coating also contains protection from UVB and UVC light. Because the tube glass is black, it absorbs the majority of the light that can be seen. Only long-wave, UVA light that is not dangerous will make its way to the outside of the tube.

Just as a tube black light is similar to a fluorescent white light tube, an incandescent black light works much like an incandescent white light bulb that is often used around a person’s home. In these types of black lights, there are filters that are used to absorb the light from the filament that heats up inside of the light bulb. Whatever the type of black light that is being used, they all work in the way that phosphors react to the ultraviolet light that they are being exposed to.


A Black Light Bulb

Black lights.

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