Why Photoluminescent Films Glow In The Dark

Have you ever wondered why photoluminescent films, such as RTape’s GlowEfx™, emit a bright greenish glow when the lights go out? The pigments in photoluminescent films as well as in fluorescent films work very differently than other types of pigments.   glow in the dark

Most pigments reflect a part of the visible light that strikes it. What isn’t reflected is absorbed and given off as heat.  On the other hand, photoluminescent and fluorescent pigments absorb both visible blue wavelengths of light and invisible ultra violet light and convert that energy into visible wavelengths of light.

If the light source doesn’t produce these wavelengths, the photoluminescent pigment won’t get charge out of it. Only certain types of light produce these wavelengths. These light sources include daylight, tungsten filament light bulbs and fluorescent lighting. Other types of light, such as mercury or sodium vapor light, don’t produce these wavelengths, and will not activate a photoluminescent pigment.

Daylight and fluorescent lighting can activate photoluminescent materials using zinc sulfinde in less than five minutes. Exposing these films to incandescent light can take longer to fully charge the materials, because this lighting emits more yellow light than blue light.

Don’t confuse fluorescent and photoluminescent materials. The two types of films are similar but not the same.  Both materials absorb UV light, which is not visible to the human eye and emit visible light. The difference is that fluorescent materials only give off this light, when it is exposed to UV light. Once the lights are out, it stops emitting the light. photoluminescent material, on the other hand, continues to emit light after the lights are turned out in the form of an afterglow.

Here’s how photoluminescent material works. The electrons, which revolve around the nucleus of the pigment molecule, absorb the photons from the light source. In doing this, the electrons of the molecules become excited or energized, which boosts the electrons from their standard orbit to a higher orbit.  For the excited electron to drop down to its original standard orbit, it need heat or it will stay in the higher orbit. As the electron returns to its standard orbit, the excited electron undergoes a transitional state, which releases the energy that it has absorbed in the form of visible light. The material glows as long as the electrons are in this transitional state. This photoluminescent pigment can be recharged over and over again and continue to emit an afterglow for as many as ten to twenty years.

Photoluminescent materials, of course, aren’t the only substances that have an afterglow. For example, radioactive materials give off an afterglow as they decay. There’s no reason to worry about phosphorescent films and inks. They aren’t radioactive and they don’t have an electrical charge.

About GlowEfx™ Photoluminescent Films. RTape Corp. recently introduced its GlowEfx™, which represents a significant improvement over its earlier generations of photoluminescent vinyl films.  Exposure to indoor fluorescent or incandescent light as well as direct or indirect sunlight rapidly charges the glow-in-the-dark vinyl film. Utilizing strontium aluminate pigments, GlowEfx™ emits a bright greenish glow, when the lights go out. Its glow is  visible to the dark adapted eye for up to an hour, which is much  longer than  short-lived zinc sulfide films.

Available in 24” x 50 yd. rolls, GlowEfx™ is easy to plotter cut and printable using a variety of digital printers, such as ecosolvent, solvent, thermal transfer, latex and UV inkjet systems.  It is also screen printable using solvent-based and UV-curable screen inks.

The extended glow life of GlowEfx™ makes it ideally suited for interior labels, home decorations and novelty items.

For easy handling during application, GlowEfx™ is coated with an easy-to-apply, permanent modified acrylic adhesive. The film exhibits good adhesion to a variety of smooth, flat substrates, such as sign blanks and painted drywall.

Designed for CPSIA compliance, GlowEfx™ is eco-friendly and child-safe. It is lead-free and phthalate-free.  Its phosphors are derived from natural rare earth minerals, which are non-toxic and non-radioactive.

For more information, please call your RTape distributor or visit the RTape website at www.rtape.com.

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