Black light

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1) Radiation that occurs outside the visible region, such as ultraviolet or infrared.

2) A common name for a fluorescent lamp with a UV emitting phosphor. Filtered (black light blue = BLB) and nonfiltered (black light = BL) bulbs are available.

  • BLB = filtered, glows dark violet, phosphor emitting near 404.7 nm, visible wavelengths are blocked by glass filter
  • BL = non-filtered, glows light blue, phosphor emitting near 360 nm

Black light lamps are used for ultraviolet examination of many materials (paint, varnishes, glass, ceramics, gemstones, cast iron, pottery, paper, metal, prints, textiles, ivory, etc.).

Synonyms and Related Terms

Blacklight; BL; BLB; black light blue; black lightbulb; Schwarzlicht (Deut.); lumière noire (Fr.); luz negra (Port.)

Resources and Citations

  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Website: IESNA at

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