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Fluorescent minerals emit visible light when exposed to ultraviolet light
Fluorescent paint and plastic lit by UV tubes. Paintings by Beo Beyond
Endothelial cells under the microscope with three separate channels marking specific cellular components

Fluorescence is the emission of light by a substance that has absorbed light or other electromagnetic radiation. First the substance absorbs the energy, then it emits light. It is a form of luminescence.

In most cases, the emitted light has a longer wavelength, and therefore lower energy, than the absorbed radiation.[1]

The most striking examples of fluorescence occur when the absorbed radiation is in the ultraviolet region of the spectrum, invisible to the human eye, and the emitted light is in the visible region.

Fluorescence has many practical applications in mineralogy, gemology, chemical sensors (fluorescence spectroscopy), fluorescent labelling, dyes, biological detectors, and, most commonly, fluorescent lamps.

Fluorescence in the life sciences is a non-destructive way of tracking biological molecules. A protein or other component can be labelled with a fluorescent dye. This is often used in biological applications.[2]

References[change | change source]

  1. Principles of instrumental analysis F.James Holler, Douglas A. Skoog & Stanley R. Crouch 2006
  2. Joseph R. Lakowicz (2006). Principles of fluorescence spectroscopy. Springer. p. xxvi. ISBN 978-0-387-31278-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=-PSybuLNxcAC. Retrieved 16 April 2011.