Dictionary > Fluorescence


The absorption and the immediate re-emission of light or photon, which has longer wavelength when re-emitted than that of what was previously absorbed
fluorescent (adjective)
Having the property of, or relating to fluorescence
Fluorescence is the emission of light or photon, similar to bioluminescence and phosphorescence. However, each of them differs beyond the atomic level. Bioluminescence is when an organism emits light through biochemical means. Bioluminescence is the outcome of the oxidation of luciferin and the enzyme luciferase. This is exemplified by bioluminescent organisms such as firefly. Fluorescence is one that occurs due to prior absorption of radiation energy and not due to a biochemical reaction. In this regard, fluorescence is similar to phosphorescence. Both of them occur as activated by the absorption of energy from a light source. Nevertheless, fluorescence is different from phosphorescence. In fluorescence the emission of light is almost immediately after the light is absorbed. In phosphorescence, light is ‘stored’ and then emitted later on as what occurs in glow-in-the-dark objects. Thus, phosphorescence emits light even in the dark or after the light source is removed. In fluorescence, light would not be emitted when the source is removed and therefore would not be emitted in the dark.
Fluorescence is also characterized by the light it emits. The emitted light would have a longer wavelength and lesser energy than that of the light initially absorbed. An example of fluorescence is the anthozoan fluorescence (e.g. Zoanthus sp.). The sunlight passes through the anthozoan’s tissues and where a part of it is absorbed by fluorescing pigments and then re-emitted.1
See also:

Related term(s):

  • Fluorescence microscopy
  • Fluorescence in situ hybridization
  • Ratio imaging fluorescence microscopy
  • Erankos fluorescence stain
  • Reference(s):

    1 Hanley III, Charles J. (2015).Fluorescence, Bioluminescence, and Phosphorescence. Retrieved from ://www.qualitymarine.com/News/Feature-Articles/Fluorescence,-Bioluminescence,-and-Phosphorescence:-(10/07/15).

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