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Portion of the electromagnetic spectrum extending from the violet end of visible light to the X-ray region. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation lies between wavelengths of about 400 nanometres and 10 nanometres, corresponding to frequencies of 7.5 1014 Hz to 3 1016 Hz. Most UV rays from the Sun are absorbed by the Earth's ozone layer. UV has low penetrating power, so its effects on humans are limited to the skin. These effects include stimulation of production of vitamin D, sunburn, suntan, aging signs, and carcinogenic changes. UV radiation is also used to treat jaundice in newborns, to sterilize equipment, and to produce artificial light.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on ultraviolet radiation, visit Britannica.com.
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