Actinic light

Actinic light

Actinic light produce only light at a specific wavelength of 420 nm. This peak wavelength value produces a very blue light.

Photography Use

The term was first commonly used in early photography to distinguish light that would expose a film from light that would not. Non-actinic light could be used in a darkroom without risk of exposing light sensitive films, plates or papers.

Early films, plates and papers were sensitive to the high energy end of the visible spectrum from green to UV. Such light was actinic light. Red light was non-actinic.

In the first half of the 20th century, developments in film technology produced films sensitive to red and yellow light and extended that through to near infra-red light. In photography, actinic light must now be referenced to the photographic material in question.

Medical Use

Actinic is also applied to medical conditions triggered off by exposure, or excessive exposure to light, especially UV light.

Aquarium Use

Actinic lights are also common in the reef aquarium industry. They are used to promote coral and invertebrate growth. [ [ Aquarium Lighting information ] ] [ [ The Correct Lighting for Your Aquarium ] ]


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  • actinic rays — n. light rays, esp. the violet and ultraviolet parts of the spectrum, that produce chemical changes, as in photography * * * …   Universalium

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