Fluorescent Minerals and Phosphorescence- Minerals That Glow in the Dark when Exposed to Ultraviolet Light

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Learn how phosphorescent minerals, also known as fluorescent minerals, produce a glow in the dark affect when they are exposed to long wave and short wave ultraviolet light. Found not only in nature across the globe, there are also Calcite micro-crystals

Fluorescent minerals, also known as phosphorescent minerals are minerals that appear to glow, or, fluoresce when exposed to long wave and short wave (UV) ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light waves are invisible to the naked eye due to the fact that the human eye can only perceive a specific range of light and color between 390 and 750 nanometers in wavelength throughout a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum which is known as the visible light spectrum.

Fluorescent minerals appear to glow in the dark, similar to how a fluorescent poster will glow in the dark when exposed to a black light, and they can be found in many regions of the globe. Listed below are varieties of phosphorescent minerals that glow when exposed to ultraviolet light.

  • Adamite
  • Andersonite
  • Aragonite
  • Artinite
  • Benitoite
  • Calcite
  • Corundum
  • Fluorapatite
  • Fluorite
  • Hemimorphite
  • Hydromagnesite
  • Novacekite
  • Phlogopite
  • Powellite
  • Rhodonite
  • Sanbornite
  • Gillespite
  • Scapolite
  • Scheelite
  • Sodalite
  • Hackmanite
  • Strontianite
  • Magnesite
  • Vlasovite
  • Gittinsite
  • Agrellite
  • Sapphire
  • Zircon
  • Witherite
  • Willemite
  • Manganocalcite

Below is an illustration of minerals that glow when exposed to ultraviolet light.

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Phosphorescent minerals maintain their glow even after the exposure to ultraviolet has been removed.

In one of my previous physics article on the Pineal Gland and it's piezoelectric effect, we discover that we as human beings also have the ability to produce a reduced emittance of phosphorescence through the Calcite micro-crystals inside the Pineal Gland. So, similar to how natural Calcite minerals produce a strong phosphorescent glow, so does the smaller versions of Calcite within the body. Calcite micro-crystals are also found within the inner ear of the body as well. Along with Calcite, Quartz Crystal as well is known to have a piezoelectric effect.

Phosphorescent minerals are not just found in nature anymore. Nanotechnology researchers have also discovered a way to reproduce non-metal organic compounds that also emit a phosphorescent glow for use in innovative mechanical and electronic devices such as computer monitors and display screens. Previously, these compounds were only able to be created using metals which are known as organometallics which are non-organic metal compounds. Researcher Jinsang Kim of the University of Michigan and his colleges have made metal free organic crystals that act as other phosphorescent minerals that appear natural in color in regular light but glow under ultraviolet light. These particular crystals appear white under normal light but glow with a blue, green, yellow or orange jewel tone under ultraviolet light.An example is shown below.

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Testing the fluorescence of phosphorescent minerals can be created at home as an experiment and teaching tool for children and families as well. Many phosphorescent minerals are available and for sale to the general public through various companies either online or rock shops throughout the globe.

Making a display or lamp for at-home use can be inexpensive and fun. Taking a box or something hollow that a black light can be placed inside with proper ventilation is a great way to start. Creating a hole at the top of the box for the light to penetrate stone clusters or single pieces is a creative way to create a glow in the dark lamp. It is important for these type of displays or lamps to not be left on for long periods of time due to the amount of heat that black lights give off. Another great idea is to create a shelf in which these types of minerals can be displayed with a black light above that shines down on the minerals can also create a unique display and lighting system. Whether these minerals are placed in jars or free standing by themselves can add dimension and style to any room. Another idea is to take small amounts that can be placed in jars or even small fish tanks and bowls. 



Debbie Edwards
Posted on Mar 7, 2012
Mark Cruz
Posted on Mar 7, 2012
Debbie Edwards
Posted on Feb 14, 2012
Gayle Crabtree
Posted on Feb 14, 2012