Dictionary > Phosphorescence


The delayed emission of light at temperatures below incandescence, as a result of a previous light exposure
phosphorescent (adjective)
Having the property of, or relating to phosphorescence
Phosphorescence is the emission of light. However, it should not be confused with bioluminescence, which is also an emission of light. In bioluminescence, the light is produced and emitted by an organism as a result of chemical reaction and not by light absorption. Bioluminescent organisms such as fireflies have luciferin-luciferase system that enables bioluminescence. The oxidation of luciferin through the enzymatic activity of luciferase results in the emission of light (or photon). Thus, bioluminescence is a form of chemiluminescence. Phosphorescence, on the contrary, is the emission of light following an exposure to light or radiation. In phosphorescence, the light is absorbed and will be re-emitted. The glowing, though, will fade out at a slow pace and intensity. This is because the molecule in the excited state is rather stable and therefore will release photon slowly and even after the light source has been removed. Phosphorescence is also different from fluorescence. In phosphorescence, light is emitted at a delayed time following light exposure.

See also:

  • Fluorescence
  • Noctiluca

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