Ultraviolet (UV) light is radiation with low wavelength. It is electromagnetic. Since UV has a short wavelength, the energy emitted is quite high. Its wavelength falls between 0.1 μm and 0.4 μm. However, the wavelength of the visible form of light is between 0.4 μm and 0.7 μm. The UV light has a shorter wavelength than that of the visible light. Second, UV light has high penetrating energy.
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However, visible light has minimal energy. The main source of UV rays is the light emitted from the sun. Other sources include mercury lamps, ultraviolet LEDs, and black lights.
There are myriads of effects of UV light. These can be classified as either harmful or beneficial effects. One of the known effects of UV rays is the ability to fluoresce substances and also trigger chemical reactions. The non-ionizing effects of UV light are observed from Ultraviolet rays emitted from the sun.
Plants are also negatively affected by the high energy UV radiation that reaches the surface of the earth. For instance, sunburn is a well known harmful effect of exposure to high-energy UV light. Plant molecules and cells are also scorched by the high energy radiation from UV rays. Chemical bonds are significantly altered when subjected to UV light. White-colored products are used as optical brighteners when they are exposed to UV light.
Finally, Ultraviolet light and X-rays are known to emit shortwave radiations. When other substances are exposed to these radiations, they also emit either the invisible or visible radiation. This process is referred to as fluorescence (Goldys 16).
Goldys, Ewa. Fluorescence Applications in Biotechnology and Life Sciences. New Jersey, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2009. Print.