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A substance that exhibits luminescence. A phosphor can absorb energy at one wavelength (such as from x-rays, UV radiation or alpha particles) and emit the energy at a different wavelength (in the UV, visible or infrared). A substance that ceases emission when the source stops is called fluorescent. Materials that continue to emit light for a period after the removal of the exciting energy are called phosphorescent or phosphors. Phosphors are used in fluorescent light tubes, televisions cathode ray tubes and instrument dials. Some phosphors used in fluorescent lamps are: calcium tungstate, magnesium tungstate, zinc silicate, calcium silicate, cadmium borate, magnesium arsenate.

Synonyms and Related Terms

luminophor (AAT); luminophore (Br.); Phosphoreszierendes Material (Deut.); matériau phosphorescent (Fr.); fluorphor; fluor; luminous paint

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 473
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, http:s//, J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, 2000