White phosphorus exposed to air glows in the dark
Phosphorescent bird figure
The tetrahedral structure of P4O10 and P4S10.
Phosphorescent, europium-doped, strontium silicate-aluminate oxide powder under visible light, fluorescing/phosphorescing under long-wave UV light, and persistently phosphorescing in total darkness
A stable diphosphene, a derivative of phosphorus(I).
Jablonski diagram of an energy scheme used to explain the difference between fluorescence and phosphorescence. The excitation of molecule A to its singlet excited state (1A*) may, after a short time between absorption and emission (fluorescence lifetime), return immediately to ground state, giving off a photon via fluorescence (decay time). However, sustained excitation is followed by intersystem crossing to the triplet state (3A) that relaxes to the ground state by phosphorescence with much longer decay times.
Robert Boyle
After an electron absorbs a photon of high energy, it may undergo vibrational relaxations and intersystem crossing to another spin state. Again the system relaxes vibrationally in the new spin state and eventually emits light by phosphorescence.
Guano mining in the Central Chincha Islands, ca. 1860.
An extremely intense pulse of short-wave UV light in a flashtube produced this blue persistent-phosphorescence in the amorphous, fused silica envelope, lasting as long as 20 minutes after the 3.5 microsecond flash.
Mining of phosphate rock in Nauru
An electron microscope reveals vacancy defects in a crystalline lattice of molybdenum disulfide. The missing sulfur atoms leave dangling bonds between the molybdenum atoms, creating a trap in the empty spaces.
Match striking surface made of a mixture of red phosphorus, glue and ground glass. The glass powder is used to increase the friction.
Phosphorescent elements of a wrist watch that had been exposed to bright light: clock face with twelve dots as well as minute and hour hand
Phosphorus explosion
thumb|Zinc sulfide (left) and strontium aluminate (right), in visible light, in darkness, and after 4 minutes in the dark.
thumb|Calcium sulfide (left) and metal-earth silicate (right) phosphoresce in red and blue respectively.
Before image of capturing a shadow on a phosphorescent wall.
After image of capturing a shadow on a phosphorescent wall.

The term phosphorescence, meaning glow after illumination, derives from this property of phosphorus, although the word has since been used for a different physical process that produces a glow.

- Phosphorus

In 1677, Hennig Brand isolated a new element that glowed due to a chemiluminescent reaction when exposed to air, and named it "phosphorus".

- Phosphorescence
White phosphorus exposed to air glows in the dark

1 related topic


A chemoluminescent reaction in an Erlenmeyer flask


Luminol and [B] is hydrogen peroxide in the presence of a suitable catalyst we have:

Luminol and [B] is hydrogen peroxide in the presence of a suitable catalyst we have:

A chemoluminescent reaction in an Erlenmeyer flask
Bioluminescence in nature: A male firefly mating with a female of the species Lampyris noctiluca.
Chemiluminescence after a reaction of hydrogen peroxide and luminol
Green and blue glow sticks

This state then decays into an electronic ground state and emits light through either an allowed transition (analogous to fluorescence) or a forbidden transition (analogous to phosphorescence), depending partly on the spin state of the electronic excited state formed.

One of the oldest known chemiluminescent reactions is that of elemental white phosphorus oxidizing in moist air, producing a green glow. This is a gas-phase reaction of phosphorus vapor, above the solid, with oxygen producing the excited states (PO)2 and HPO.