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UVA vs UVB vs UVC | Difference between UVA UVB UVC

This page compare UVA vs UVB vs UVC and mentions difference between UVA, UVB and UVC ultraviolet ray types with respect to their frequency, wavelength and applications.

Ultraviolet (UV) rays are electromagnetic radiation with wavelength range from 10 to 400 nm. The UV rays are shorter than VL (Visible Light) and longer than X-rays. UV rays occupy 10% of total EM radiation from the Sun. Moreover UV rays can also be produced by various means such as electric arcs, lamps and lights.

There are numerous benefits of UV rays due to its property to kill the viruses, bacterias, germs etc. It is used for Line of Sight Communications in LiFi and FSO (Free Space Optics). Ultraviolet rays are used to disinfect drinking water, air, tools etc. UV light is very effective in sterilization and disinfection.

Apart from numerous merits, there are few demerits of UV rays. UV light rays are harmful to our eyes and skin, hence it is not recommended to use on hands and skin. Moreover it works effectively in direct light path. It becomes ineffective when rays are blocked by objects.

UV spectrum

There are various sub bands of UV rays viz. UVA, UVB, UVC, near ultraviolet (NUV), middle UV, far UV, hydrogen Lyman-alpha, Extreme UV and vacuum UV.

UV sub bands

All these UV sub bands occupy different frequency and wavelengths as mentioned in the table.


• Full Form : Ultraviolet A
• Frequency : 750 to 952.4 THz
• Wavelength : 400 to 315 nm
• Characteristics : Longest wavelength
• Pros : Do not make you tanned
• Cons : Penetrates deep into skin and causes skin aging, DNA damage


• Full Form : Ultraviolet B
• Frequency : 952.4 to 1071 THz
• Wavelength : 315 to 280 nm
• Cons : Affects top skin kayer, make you tanned, redness, burns, skin cancer


• Full Form : Ultraviolet C
• Frequency : 1.071 to 3 PHz
• Wavelength : 280 to 100 nm (Shortest wavelength and hence UVC light rays present in the sun rays are absorbed by atmospheric ozone. )
• UVC at particular wavelength is safe to use around human beings. UV lisht used with special bulbs can emit appropriate amount of UVC light which is adequate to kill viruses.
• Applications : Used to disinfect drinking water, medical tools, air etc. It is safe to use to disinfect vegetables, fruits, mobiles, surfaces, toys, utensils, clothes etc.

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