Sciencemadness Discussion Board

UV lamp for TLC visualization

AvBaeyer - 1-3-2014 at 19:13

I am in need of short and long wavelenght uv light for TLC visualization. I have seen some hand held units aimed at rock collectors which have either short or long wavelength capability for pretty good prices, usually under $40. Does anyone have any experience with these types of units or any suggestions for modestly priced uv sources to meet my needs? I am well aquainted with the high end hand held units but I do not want to spend that much money. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

bfesser - 2-3-2014 at 05:40

I have a <a href="" target="_blank">UVG-11 from UVP Inc.</a> <img src="../scipics/_wiki.png" />, that I'm very happy with. I purchased it 'used' (like new) from eBay some years ago, and paid only 40 (USD) or so including shipping. It's been perfect both for visualizing TLC plates and my mineralogy interest. The UVG-11's a 254 nm ('short wave') model, but they make dual wavelength and long wavelength models, as well. You can also get cabinets that work with these lamps which are ideal for analyzing TLC plates.

AvBaeyer - 2-3-2014 at 19:40


Thank you for the reply. I will continue to look for a reasonably priced unit such as the ones you describe as I am quite familair with these. In the meantime, do you know anything about the battery powered uv lights that have about 4 watts or so of power? These can be had for $10-$30 depending on "features". Some have 254 nm capability by use of a filter.


chemrox - 5-3-2014 at 17:38

I also got a handheld unit for $40 on ebay. It is great for visulaizing TLC plates. I2 vapor also works for the stuff Im looking at. I cut my TLC plates at the glass shop to 1-2" width and visualize them in a square vase with a saw cut and sanded top with a square piece of window glass to hold the vapor. On a cold day I put it on a hot plate for a few. The I2 is in two 5 ml beakers inside. The iodine sublimates a bit on the hot plate. This makes for really nice vapor.

AvBaeyer - 5-3-2014 at 19:04

I also use iodine in general as well as some dips but recently I have found the need to use uv visualization. I use commercial 1in x 3in or 2in x 3in plates and run them in some properly sized jars with polyethylene lined caps. The iodine is in the bottom of a similar jar. Problem is, not everything stains with iodine and the use of dips is messy and can make for nasty fumes if they need to be heated.

packetforger - 6-3-2014 at 14:08

You could easily build one from a bunch of LED's bought from Digikey or similar. That way you can select the wavelength required when buying the LED's. A quick bit of soldering practice, a sheet of perfboard, and away you go.

bfesser - 7-3-2014 at 05:49

Workable shortwave UV LEDs&mdash;254 nm is ideal&mdash;are prohibitively expensive, packetforger. Better off just buying a Hg tube-based device.

AvBaeyer - 7-3-2014 at 19:50

Thanks all. I think the problem is being solved.


packetforger - 7-3-2014 at 23:54

bfesser - sadly true. I spent the rest of the night after that post actually shopping for ones in the right wavelength :( I made the mistake of assuming any would do and greatly apologise for that.

smaerd - 8-3-2014 at 05:53

I made one of these for around 20 dollars. Used a 254nm reptile light/pet light(I think), a G23 bulb base, a hacked off power cord, some twist connectors, and I believe a magnetic starter. Haven't created a reflector for it yet but it should be easily done with a piece of sheet metal or similar. Of course it's not only 254nm but it works pretty well.

bfesser - 8-3-2014 at 16:51

As far as I'm aware, reptile lamps are primarily UVA (400 – 315 nm, 'long wave') and UVB (315 – 280 nm, 'medium wave'). The TLC plates I have used fluoresce with excitation at 254 nm, which is UVC (280 – 100 nm, 'short wave'). I don't think your device will be particularly effective.


smaerd - 8-3-2014 at 20:18

It's definitely 254nm. My apologies it is a UV sterilization lamp. I had looked at reptile lamps when building it but there are reptile lamps that do hit 254nm. They were about 20 dollars a bulb though.

After looking up the model number, this is an equivalent bulb -

My 'device' is particularly effective... A student borrowed it for his research last semester.

[Edited on 9-3-2014 by smaerd]

smaerd - 16-1-2015 at 22:39

Forgot to post pictures of my lamp. Now that my camera is working again :)

if anyone wants to know how it was wired or the components I can share that.

DSCF0005.JPG - 760kB DSCF0006.JPG - 2.5MB

[Edited on 17-1-2015 by smaerd]

DJF90 - 17-1-2015 at 06:37

For those in the UK, you can buy a counterfeit money detector from Maplin ( This is an updated model to the one I purchased a couple of years ago, which came with a blacklight bulb which is typical for long wave detection (365 nm ish...). This new model claims to have two UV bulbs and a white bulb also, so perhaps it already has detection at 254nm also. Otherwise, I purchased a 4W germicidal bulb on ebay that will fitted my lamp, allowing detection for plates using a 254nm fluorescent material.

Be careful not to look directly at the UV tube though, unless you want to suffer from "arc eye".

ledob86 - 25-5-2015 at 09:04

Materials from french supplier : (google is your friend, right click and translate > buy > build > play)

assemble this with a tuperware (tubes inside and matchbox oustise), cover it with something black, let a little window and seal the lid with something efficient.


Lampe UVA (~365nm)




[Edited on 25-5-2015 by ledob86]

Mush - 6-12-2018 at 13:24

This piece well worth it. I've been searching for similar uv lamp for a while.

(Qi Wei) ZF-1 three UV analyzer with UV lamp / desktop 254/365nm

A,ZF-1Table three UV analyzer features
ZF-1Table three UV analyzer is one of our company 's ultraviolet instrument products can emit long wave ultraviolet365nmHigh intensity, good stability, easy to use, reliable, welcomed by the majority of users.ZF-1Table three UV analyzer is widely used in scientific research, production and other fields.
1In biochemistry and medicineDNA,RNAElectrophoresis gel samples were observed and analyzed.
2And in the pharmaceutical industry, the quality of the drug can be used to check hormone alkaloids, vitamins can produce fluorescence, especially suitable for thin layer chromatography, paper layer analysis and testing.
3In the chemical industry, dyestuff industry, be able to identify different types of crude oil and rubber products, the determination of a variety of fluorescent material, fluorescent indicator, additives etc..
4In the textile industry can be used to identify cotton, synthetic fiber, silk artificial fiber, wool and other raw materials.
5In the food industry can be used to detect aflatoxin, food additives, as well as food, vegetables, fruits, cocoa butter, sugar, eggs and other quality.
6In the * * Department can be used for forensic identification and other occasions.
Two,ZF-1Table three main technical performance of UV analyzer
1UV wavelength: short wavelength UV wavelength254nm
Long wave UV peak365nm
2Power supply:AC220V + 10%50HZ
3Power: short wave ultraviolet:6W Long wave ultraviolet:6W Visiblelight:4W
4And the size of UV filter glass:200 x 50mm
Power: 18W

US $140.22 -178.75

Some other alternatives:

UV detection lamp hand held UV analyzer 254nm 365nm wavelength UV 110V or 220V
US $244.00

2 in 1 LW + SW 365nm 254nm Ultraviolet UV Lamp for Fluorescent Minerals Currency
US $278.00

Portable UV Lamp 365nm/254nm Ultraviolet Analyzer High Sensitivity UV Analyzer Lab Equipment For Biology Scientific Research
US $96.00

[Edited on 6-12-2018 by Mush]

S.C. Wack - 6-12-2018 at 15:21

A battery power item sold for rocks that either emits 254 or is represented fraudulently: