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Viewing ultraviolet light

  1. Oct 8, 2014 #1
    Hi everyone,

    Can anyone help me?

    Would it be possible to impregnate a transparent piece of plastic with compound which would shift incident UV light (preferably, from a variety of wavelengths of UV light) into light in the visible spectrum, whilst preserving the light's linearity?

    I have read a topic discussing the conversion of IR light to visible light and this seems counter-intuitive as IR light is of a lower energy to begin with. I would have thought that trying to convert IR to visible light you would require additional energy in the system somewhere.

    But is it any more plausible if you start with photons which have higher energy than visible light (eg, UV-A, UV-B and UV-C), and convert to photons with lower energy, somewhere in the visible spectrum?

    Could you not also just use a polarised coating to help maintain linear transmission of the light?

    I'm keen to research this topic in greater detail to see if it's plausible to create glasses which enable the indirect visualisation of UV light, so if anyone could share their wisdom on the matter I'd be greatly appreciative.


    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 8, 2014 #2
    There are UV cameras available on the market, and you can also by fluorescent markers that turn UV into visible light. I am not too sure about the linearity of those, though.

  4. Oct 8, 2014 #3


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    Those materials typically convert two IR photons to one visible photon.

    There are many wavelength shifting materials, but I'm not sure if you can get that in a coherent way to preserve the light direction.
  5. Oct 12, 2014 #4


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    If the UV is in the correct energy range you can use BBO to down-convert ... but this is generally a very inefficient process. It does preserve total energy and momentum.

    Modern engineered materials with certain defect structures can enhance the efficiency; this topic was being researched in 2010, the last time I looked into it.
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