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Phosphorescence is a type of photoluminescence related to fluorescence. Unlike fluorescence, a phosphorescent material does not immediately re-emit the radiation it absorbs. The slower time scales of the re-emission are associated with "forbidden" energy state transitions in quantum mechanics. As these transitions occur very slowly in certain materials, absorbed radiation is re-emitted at a lower intensity for up to several hours after the original excitation.
Everyday examples of phosphorescent materials are the glow-in-the-dark toys, stickers, paint, wristwatch and clock dials that glow after being charged with a bright light such as in any normal reading or room light. Typically, the glow slowly fades out, sometimes within a few minutes or up to a few hours in a dark room.
Around 1604, Vincenzo Casciarolo discovered a "lapis solaris" near Bologna, Italy. Once heated in an oxygen-rich furnace, it thereafter absorbed sunlight and glowed in the dark. The study of phosphorescent materials led to the [[Radioactive decay#History of discovery
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