Specialty fluorescent lamps refer to light bulbs that perform a function apart from illumination. Instead of the conventional tube fluorescents and CFL bulbs that are familiar as household and commercial lighting options, specialty fluorescent light bulbs emit wavelengths of light that are sometimes beyond the visible spectrum and will cause specific reactions under the right circumstances.
Examples of specialty fluorescent lamps are germicidal bulbs that are used for sterilization purposes. These bulbs emit a unique wavelength of ultraviolet light that will disrupt the DNA in some microbes, including bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. They are sometimes called UVC or UV-C lamps. Their most common application is in hospitals, laboratories, and similar facilities where a germ-free, sterilized environment must be maintained.
These lamps are not to be confused with blacklight blue fluorescent bulbs. Blacklight blue fluorescents are used for a range of different applications, including to detect organic substances for forensics and investigation purposes, to confirm the presence of certain security inks, and other purposes. Blacklight blue bulbs feature a blue filter coating that filters out most visible light and do not appear as bright as blacklight fluorescent bulbs.
Blacklight fluorescent bulbs will cause certain colors and coatings to fluoresce. This may be used for novelty or decorative purposes. They can also be used in the curing of UV reactive substances, including resins and acrylics and are a common fixture in bug zappers.
Specialty fluorescent lamps may also refer to fluorescent bulbs of a unique shape. This can include T5 and T8 fluorescent bulbs, which have bi-pin bases that fit within special tube light fixtures.
OEMs will usually source these bulbs directly from a manufacturer. In some cases, specialty fluorescent lamps are being phased out in favor of other options, such as ultraviolet LEDs and mercury vapor black lights.
When specialty fluorescent lamps are needed to replace a dead bulb, they can be sourced from an authorized specialty light bulb distributor. Such a provider can offer guidance when it comes to identifying a bulb based on shape, voltage, wattage, base type, end-use, and other specifications if a part number is not available.
Is a UV germicidal light bulb safe?
UV germicidal light bulbs are used to kill bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and other microorganisms by disrupting DNA. This effect can be harmful to living things. UV germicidal bulbs are not safe for use in household fixtures or applications. They should only be used in appropriate settings and in accordance with all safe operating instructions. Regular or long term exposure to the radiation produced by these bulbs may contribute to accelerated aging of the skin and development of cancer.
What is the difference between a T5 and T8 fluorescent bulb?
The main differences between T5 and T8 fluorescent bulbs are the diameter and the base. T5 fluorescent lamps have a 5/8” diameter while T8 lamps have a 1” diameter. The base of T5 fluorescent lamps feature a mini bi-pin base and the base of T8 bulbs feature a medium bi-pin base. T5 bulbs are also measured in metric units while T8 bulbs are in non-metric sizes. When identifying the right type of bulb for a fixture or application, an authorized light distributor can provide assistance.
What is a UV-C bulb?
A UV-C bulb or UVC bulb is one that emits short ultraviolet wavelengths of light within the range of 100 to 280 nanometers. This type of light radiation will destroy bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms by damaging DNA. They are commonly referred to as germicidal bulbs and are used for purposes of sterilization. When a bulb is used for UV disinfection, it is doing so by producing UV-C lightwaves.