27.12.2013
The elecromagnetic spectrum shows light in all its possible wavelengths, measured in nanometers (nm.).
Gels need photoinitiators in them to activate the other molecules and turn the gel into a hard plastic. The thing with photoinitiators is that the most easily activated ones on the market are bright orange, which when placed inside already pigmented gels will be overpowered and not noticed, but in clear gels they stand out. The Sun is a source of the full spectrum of ultraviolet radiation, which is commonly subdivided into UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. The majority of standard UV curing happens in a narrow emission range with the remainder of the spectral output generating unneeded and potentially harmful UV-C and infrared emissions. UV LED curing light sources efficiently convert 20-40% of the input electrical power into usable UV light with no harmful UV-C or infrared exposure. Phoseon Technology is the leader in UV LED curing solutions for commercial and industrial applications. The LED emitters are mounted directly onto the metal base of the collimator which also features an integrated heat sink. In addition to using the correct LED controllers listed above, an appropriate current range must be set according to the LED’s current rating, in order to properly protect the highly delicate deep UV LED.
The new crop of LED gel lamps on the market have caused a bit of confusion as to the benefits and differences between LED and the standard UV lamps techs have been using for years.
All light is categorized by its different wavelengths, which you can see charted here as the Electromagnetic Spectrum.


The majority of clear or lightly pigmented photoinitiators on the market today become activated in wavelengths that are outside of the typical wavelengths that LED lamps emit. The photoinitiators in the gel are designed to work at precisely the same wavelengths as the lights emit. The typical light source spectrum wavelength ranges from Ultraviolet Light (UVC 200 to 280nm, UVB: 280 to 315nm, UVA 315 to 400nm) to Visible Light (400 to 760nm) and Infrared Light (760 to 3000nm). That efficiency translates into approximately 80% power and heat savings over mercury based lamps. For example LED collimators can replace the standard lamp assembly in a microscope to provide stable, intense, and fast-modulated illumination.
This configuration minimizes thermal resistance between the LED emitter and the heat sink resulting in better heat dissipation. The light sources can be driven by Mightex LED controllers or other LED controllers and current sources. To help clear up the subject, NAILS has highlighted the biggest differences between the two so you can be better informed on lamp purchases and maintenance. A key note to understand is that LED lights are actually UV lights also, because they emit light that is within the UV spectrum (specifically UV-A). So because CFLs have a broader wavelength output, they are typically more effective at curing most clear gels. Typically the rest of the illumination optics will image the LED emitter onto the pupil of the imaging optics whereas the lens aperture on the collimator where intensity is uniform will be projected onto the object.


An optional focusing module can be mounted on the front of the LED collimator to focus light into a tight spot which is an image of the LED emitter. The traditional UV lights we’ll call compact fluorescent lights (UV CFL), after the bulbs they use.
Mightex LED collimators employ a high-NA aspherical collimating lens for precision collimation and high light throughput. In other illumination applications similar arrangement should be made to produce uniform and efficient illumination. One of the applications with the focusing module is coupling LED light into a fiber or a light guide. Clear photoinitiators with good absorbance rates into this range (the purple line) are used in clear gels. This near-monochromatic distribution (see chart) requires new chemical formulations to ensure proper curing of inks, coatings, and adhesives.



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