The UV Light You Can Take With You

Courtesy of TechnikaImpatient molecular biologists who need to know – now! – if their gels are done, have a new, pen-sized ally. Rather than carrying their gel trays to the dark room, they can whip out the diminutive UV Light Pen ($17, US), from Technika, for on-the-spot gel analysis.The light pen uses LED (light-emitting diode) technology. Instead of filaments, LEDs use low-power semiconductor chips. As a result, the Light Pen "virtually uses no electricity, so the batteries last a

The Scientist Staff
Feb 15, 2004
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Courtesy of Technika

Impatient molecular biologists who need to know – now! – if their gels are done, have a new, pen-sized ally. Rather than carrying their gel trays to the dark room, they can whip out the diminutive UV Light Pen ($17, US), from Technika, for on-the-spot gel analysis.

The light pen uses LED (light-emitting diode) technology. Instead of filaments, LEDs use low-power semiconductor chips. As a result, the Light Pen "virtually uses no electricity, so the batteries last a long time," says Devin Sper, president of the Phoenix, Ariz.-based company. Fluorescent tubes and bulbs, explains Sper, were "expensive and had to be plugged in," and if they had batteries, they "burned out easily."

Instead of true UV light, which has a wavelength of 365 nm, the light pen uses 400 nm light. According to Technika's Web site http://www.technika.com, "The 400 nm output is just on the edge...