The first person to observe fluorescence in minerals was George Stokes in 1852. He noted the ability of fluorite to produce a blue glow when illuminated with ultraviolet light and called this phenomenon “fluorescence” after the mineral fluorite.
The name became synonymous with metallurgists, gemologists and biologists.
Lamps for viewing florescent Minerals
Lamps used to visualise seams of fluorite and other fluorescent minerals are commonly used in mines but they tend to be on an industrial scale. The lamps need to be short wavelength to be useful for this purpose and of scientific grade. A recent customer request for a UV lamp identified the UVP range of hand held UV lamps ideal for this purpose and used by Geologists to identify the best sources of fluorite in mines or potential new mines.
Camlab have a wide range of UV lamps available and the one we recommend for Geological use is the UVP UVSL-26P.
- Rechargeable Lamps have two tubes for added UV intensity
- Model UVSL-26P shown can operate with both longwave and shortwave on at the same time
- Rechargeable lamps are equipped with an internal gel-based, lead-acid battery which can be charged for field operation from a standard wall outlet
- A 12V adapter is available for operating the lamp from a car cigarette lighter
- 254nm or 365nm
- 6 watts power
- 6V batteries or ac supply
- Dims 249mmL x 76mmW x 140mmH
Ultra violet safety glasses, goggles and UV protection hoods are also available to protect eyesight, and should always be used.
Fluorite and its uses
Flourite or Fluorspar is used in the formation of hydrofluoric acid, a feedstock for many chemical processes. One third of fluorspar produced worlwide is used in steel making and the production of aluminium. A smaller proportion is used in opaque glass making and enamels.
Approximately 60% of global Hydrofluoric acid HF is used to make refrigerants, non-stick coatings, medical propellants and anesthetics. South Africa produces the most Fluorspar in the world, a staggering 41 Million tonnes, closely followed by Mexico at 32 million tonnes.