Understanding what is UV Sensor and How They Work?

Haisen UV sensor

Understanding what is UV Sensor and How They Work?

What is UV Sensor?


UV sensor is device that detect ultraviolet (UV) radiation. They are used in a variety of applications to measure the intensity of UV rays from natural and artificial sources.

UV rays have shorter wavelengths and higher energy than visible light. While small amounts are beneficial, excessive exposure can be harmful to humans, animals, and materials. UV sensors allow detection and monitoring of these invisible UV emissions.

There are several types of UV sensors based on different detection principles. The most common rely on semiconductor, photodiode, and photochemical technologies. These sensors convert incident UV radiation into an electrical signal proportional to the intensity. Haisen use the semiconductor UV sensors to provide accurate measurements of UVC intensity.

UV sensors are used for important applications in healthcare, industrial processing, environmental monitoring, and more. In healthcare, they help monitor safe exposure levels during phototherapy treatments. In industrial curing processes, UV sensors optimize the applied UV dose. Environmental sensors track UV indexes and vitamin D production.

The global UV sensors market continues to grow as UV measurement becomes increasingly critical across industries. With capabilities spanning UV-A, UV-B and UV-C bands, these sensors provide actionable data to minimize health risks and improve processes relying on UV radiation. This primer covers how UV sensors work, key specifications, and their diverse applications.

How UV Sensor Work?


UV sensors work by detecting ultraviolet (UV) light and converting it into an electrical signal or numeric output. The key components of a UV sensor are:

– Photodetector – This detects incoming UV photons and generates an electrical current proportional to the UV intensity. Common materials used include silicon carbide, aluminum nitride, and gallium nitride.

– Filters – Optical filters are used to limit the UV wavelength range that reaches the photodetector, allowing the sensor to measure specific UV bands. Common filters include UVA, UVB, UVC.

– Amplifier circuit – This amplifies the weak electrical signal from the photodetector into a stronger output voltage. The amplifier provides gains up to 1 million times.

– Analog/Digital converter – This converts the amplified analog signal into a digital output for processing. It assigns a numeric value corresponding to the measured UV intensity.

The photodetector has a photoelectric effect when struck by UV photons. The absorbed photon energy excites electrons into a higher state, generating electron-hole pairs. This creates a flow of electric current proportional to the number of photons detected. The various components work together to accurately measure the incoming UV radiation.

UV sensor performance relies on the photodetector’s responsivity, which is its ability to convert UV photons into an electrical signal. A higher responsivity results in higher sensitivity and detection accuracy. Filtering and amplification also help boost the signal while minimizing noise. The final digital output allows easy interfacing with monitoring systems and data loggers. Overall, UV sensors provide precise real-time quantification of UV levels across various environments and applications.


Types of UV light Sensor?


UV Light sensors can be made from different semiconductor materials, each with their own properties and advantages. Some of the main types include:

Silicon Carbide (SiC)

– Silicon carbide has a wide bandgap, allowing it to detect UV light from 200-400 nm wavelengths. This covers the UVB and most of the UVC spectrums.

– SiC sensors have high sensitivity to UV light. They also have low dark currents, allowing them to operate at high temperatures up to 600°C.

– Their robustness and ability to withstand high temps make SiC UV sensors suitable for harsh environments like flame detection, missile plume detection, and monitoring industrial processes.

Gallium Nitride (GaN)

– GaN is another wide bandgap semiconductor used in UV sensors, with sensitivity ranging from 200-365 nm.

– GaN sensors have very high responsivity and gain. Their solar-blindness enables optical filtering that blocks visible light.

– Advantages of GaN UV sensors include high speed, radiation hardness, and chemical inertness. They are more expensive than SiC.

UV Sensor Specifications?


UV sensors have some key specifications that determine their performance and suitability for different applications:

 Spectral Response

The spectral response range refers to the wavelengths of UV light that the sensor can detect. Different UV sensors are designed for specific UV ranges:

– UVA sensors typically respond to wavelengths from 320-400 nm. UVA is longer wavelength UV that is responsible for skin tanning.

– UVB sensors respond to 280-320 nm wavelengths. UVB causes sunburn and skin cancer.

– UVC sensors cover 200-280 nm. UVC is germicidal but fully filtered by the ozone layer.

– Broadband UV sensors have a wide spectral range from 200 nm up to 400 nm.

Dynamic Range

The dynamic range is the range of UV intensity that can be measured by the sensor. A higher dynamic range allows measuring very low to very high UV levels. Dynamic range is typically 0.1 mW/cm2 to 30 W/cm2 or more.

 Response Time

The response time indicates how quickly the sensor output responds to changes in UV levels. Faster response times of under a second allow real-time UV monitoring. Slower responses above 10 seconds limit use for measuring UV exposure over time.


 How to Use UV Sensors?


Proper installation, positioning, and maintenance are crucial for getting the most out of your UV sensors. Here are some best practices:

How to Installation?

– Mount the sensor in a location that will receive direct UV exposure. Avoid placing it in the shade or behind glass, which blocks UV rays.

– Orient the sensor so that its photodiode faces upward. This allows it to directly capture UV radiation from the sun.

– Securely fasten the sensor, but avoid excessive torque on the housing which could damage it. Adhere to the manufacturer’s installation guidelines.

– Ensure exposed solder joints or circuitry are adequately protected against moisture and weathering which can degrade connections over time. Enclose the board or connections within a protective housing if needed.



– Elevate the sensor above the ground and surrounding objects to minimize UV scattering and absorption by nearby surfaces.

– If monitoring UV levels for a greenhouse, outdoor area, or within a solar panel array, find a central location that receives sunlight exposure representative of the entire monitored area.

– Take measures to keep the photodiode clean from dust, dirt, and debris which can block UV rays. Regular cleaning may be required.



– Periodically inspect the sensor housing and electrical connections for damage. Repair issues and replace degraded gaskets or seals.

– Test and validate that the sensor reading accurately by cross checking its readings against a known calibrated reference sensor periodically. Recalibrate if needed.

– Replace the UV photodiode every 2-3 years, or according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, as the photodiode’s responsiveness degrades over time.

Following these installation, positioning, and maintenance guidelines allows your UV sensor to operate reliably for years. Proper use ensures you accurately capture UV data for your application or research needs.

Advantages of UV Sensors?


UV sensors offer several key advantages that make them a popular choice for many applications:

High Sensitivity

One of the main benefits of UV sensors is their high sensitivity. They are designed specifically to detect UV radiation across different wavelengths. This makes them extremely responsive even to low levels of UV rays. The sensors generate a proportional electrical signal based on the intensity of UV light detected. Modern UV sensors can have sensitivities down to the picowatt range.


UV sensors are engineered to be durable enough for long-term use. They are made of rugged materials like silicon carbide and aluminum gallium nitride that can withstand exposure to UV light and harsh environmental factors. The packaging and optics are designed to be waterproof and dustproof as needed. With proper calibration, UV sensors can maintain their sensitivity and accuracy for years.


UV sensors offer good value for performance. Advancements in the manufacturing and miniaturization of sensors have made them more affordable. Compared to other analytical instruments, UV sensors are relatively inexpensive. Their simple working mechanism also means lower maintenance costs. For many UV measurement needs, sensors present a cost-effective solution.

In summary, UV sensors excel in their sensitivity, durability, and cost-effectiveness. These advantages make them versatile tools for UV detection and measurement across industrial, commercial, and scientific applications. Their high responsiveness, ruggedness, and affordability provide compelling benefits for using UV sensors.


 Limitations of UV Sensors?


UV sensors have some inherent limitations that should be considered when selecting and using them:

**Spectral range**

– UV sensors are designed to detect ultraviolet light in specific wavelength ranges, commonly UVA, UVB, or UVC. They cannot detect wavelengths outside of their target spectral range. This limits their flexibility for measuring broad spectrum UV sources.

– Most sensors only detect a portion of the UV spectrum, not the full range from 100-400 nm. Multiple sensors may be needed to cover different UV bands.

– A sensor calibrated and optimized for UVA may have poor sensitivity to UVB or UVC. Selecting an inappropriate UV sensor can lead to inaccurate measurements.

**Temperature dependence**

– UV sensor readings vary with temperature changes. Higher temperatures typically cause increased measurements.

– Temperature compensation is required for consistent readings. Some sensors have built-in compensation, but external compensation circuitry may be needed.

– Operating outside the specified temperature range can substantially impact accuracy. Care should be taken to maintain a stable thermal environment.

Share this post