Phosphorescence is a specific type of photoluminescence related to fluorescence. Unlike fluorescence, a phosphorescent material does not immediately re-emit the radiation it absorbs. The slower time scales of the re-emission are associated with "forbidden" energy state transitions in quantum mechanics. As these transitions occur very slowly in certain materials, absorbed radiation may be re-emitted at a lower intensity for up to several hours after the original excitation.

Commonly seen examples of phosphorescent materials are the glow-in-the-dark toys, paint, and clock dials that glow for some time after being charged with a bright light such as in any normal reading or room light. Typically the glowing then slowly fades out within minutes to up to a few hours in a dark room.

The study of phosphorescent materials led to the discovery of radioactivity in 1896.

Ironically, white phosphorus (from which phosphorescence takes its name) does not actually exhibit this property, but rather chemiluminescence.

Sunset Biolumiscence Silhouette Glowing

Based mostly on some random photo I came across somewhere on the internet. :) ...

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