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Process by which an excited material emits light in a process not caused solely by a rise in temperature. The excitation is usually achieved with ultraviolet radiation, X rays, electrons, alpha particles, electric fields, or chemical energy. The colour, or wavelength, of the light emitted is determined by the material, while the intensity depends on both the material and the input energy. Examples of luminescence include light emissions from neon lamps, luminescent watch dials, television and computer screens, fluorescent lamps, and fireflies. See alsobioluminescence; fluorescence; phosphorescence.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on luminescence, visit Britannica.com.