Optical whitening agent

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  • Organic Optical Whitening Agents, otherwise called as Optical Brightening Agents are organic dyes that absorb ultraviolet light and re-emit that light in the blue part of the visible spectrum.
  • The result is that whitening and brightening of the media into which they are incorporated.
  • Application of Optical brightening agents (OBA) are it is commonly used in the pulp and paper industry, and they can be applied to different kinds of pulps, including high-yield pulp (HYP) and Kraft pulps.
  • To achieve a white media OBAs need to be used since the cotton and/or paper fibers and the coatings applied to them are inherently yellowish or brownish due to the reflective nature of these materials.
  • Only with the addition of OBAs is a bright white media possible.
  • We can find its application in most fine art papers and canvases in order to provide a white and not a cream or yellow substrate.
  • If the whiteness or brightness of a paper or canvas is more than 90% there are most likely OBAs present. In paper OBAs may be in the paper itself or in the coating on the paper or both.
  • Application is in formulas for washing and conditioning grey or blonde hair, where the brightener can not only increase the luminance and sparkle of the hair, but can also correct dull, yellowish discoloration without darkening the hair.
  • And also some advanced face and eye powders contain optical brightener microspheres that brighten shadowed or dark areas of the skin, such as “tired eyes”.
  • Laundry detergents which are used to replace whitening agents removed during washing and to make the clothes appear cleaner, may contain up to 0.2% whitening agents, Paper, especially high brightness papers, resulting in their strongly fluorescent appearance under UV illumination.
  • Paper brightness is typically measured at 457nm, well within the fluorescent activity range of brighteners. Paper used for banknotes does not contain optical brighteners, so a common method for detecting counterfeit notes is to check for fluorescence.
  • Optical brighteners aren’t effective unless they remain in the fabric, and persist after washing. They only last so long, until the point when they actually burn out and no longer do anything. They are also subject to fading when exposed long term to UV.
  • Most of the brighteners will hardly fluoresce in powder form; their fluorescence will only appear in solution.
  • There are some types, which will not fluoresce in solution and will only show this property after they have been applied on the fiber.
  • Thus, it can be concluded that fluorescence is not only dependent on the structure of the molecule but also on its condition. Whether a fluorescent substance is suitable as a brightener can only be determined after it has been applied to the textile fiber.

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