UV Sensors Information

Light sensorUV sensors measure the power or intensity of incident ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This form of electromagnetic radiation has shorter wavelengths than visible radiation, but is still longer than x-rays. UV sensors are used for determining exposure to ultraviolet radiation in laboratory or environmental settings. They are transmitters that respond to one type of energy signal by producing energy signals of a different type. Generally, these output signals are electrical signals that are routed directly to an electrical meter for observation and recording. The generated electrical signals from UV sensors can also be sent to an analog-to-digital converter (ADC), and then to a computer with software for generating graphs and reports.

Types of UV Sensors

There are many types of UV sensors. Examples include:

  • UV phototubes
  • light sensors
  • UV spectrum sensors

UV phototubes are radiation-sensitive sensors that are used for monitoring UV air treatments, UV water treatments, and solar irradiance. Light sensors are general-purpose devices for measuring the intensity of incident light. UV spectrum sensors are charge-coupled devices (CCD) that are used in scientific photography. These UV sensors are also used for measuring the portion of the UV spectrum that sunburns human skin. Ultraviolet light detectors, germicidal UV detectors, and photostability sensors are also commonly available.


Selecting UV sensors requires an analysis of specifications such as:

  • wavelength range
  • accuracy
  • power range
  • weight
  • operating temperature

Wavelength range is the range of wavelengths, in nanometers (nm), that UV sensors can detect. UVA radiation ranges over wavelengths from 315 nm to 400 nm. UVB radiation covers wavelengths from 280 nm to 315 nm. UVC radiation is defined as between 100 nm and 280 nm. Because UVC radiation is more energetic, it is also the most harmful. Accuracy is a measure of how effectively UV sensors measure ultraviolet radiation. Power range and weight are also important parameters to consider, especially for UV sensors that are used in the field. Operating temperature is defined as a full-required range.


UV sensors are used in many different applications. Examples include pharmaceuticals, automobiles, and robotics. UV sensors are also used in the printing industry for solvent handling and dyeing processes. In addition, UV sensors are also used in the chemical industry for the production, storage, and transportation of chemicals.

Related Information

Electronics360—The Evolution of the Light Bulb

Electronics360—Researchers Reveal How to Make Transparent Sensors

IEEE Spectrum—The Challenges for Tesla's Solar Roofs

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Sphl / CC BY-SA 3.0



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