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What makes phosphorescence last longer?Featured science projectScience project video


An ultraviolet light source (as opposed to other forms of light sources) will be able to make the glow of phosphorescence material last longer.


The lamp that produces more ultraviolet light will be able to make the glow of phosphorescence material last longer.

Scientific Terms

Phosphorescence, ultraviolet, infrared



Phosphorescence occurs when energy in light waves is absorbed by a phosphorescent material and later released in the form of light, at a very slow rate. This slow release of light energy is what causes the glow-in-the-dark sticker to continue glowing over a period of time.

When ultraviolet light is absorbed by the phosphorescent material, electrons in the atom become"excited". These electrons will eventually return to their normal energy levels, gradually. It is during this gradual process of electron state"degradation", that the material is seen to glow.

Types of lamps

Different types of lamps (mentioned below) are used to simulate different bands of light in the spectrum.

Infrared lamp - consists mainly of infrared light. Most of the infrared energy is lost as heat.

Incandescent lamp - emits a large percentage of infrared light

Florescent lamp - emits more ultraviolet light than the incandescent lamp

Ultraviolet lamp - consists mainly of ultraviolet light 

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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
1 hour to prepare, 10 hours for observation
Material availability:
You will need access to UV/infrared lamps
Safety concerns: