Introduction: On the Origin of the Terms Fluorescence, Phosphorescence, and Luminescence

  • B Valeur
Part of the Springer Series on Fluorescence book series (SS FLUOR, volume 1)


As an introduction to the historical part of this book, it is worth recalling the origin of the terms fluorescence, phosphorescence, luminescence When and how these phenomena were discovered are of course the basic questions [1], but the first step of a historical research is the understanding of the etymology of a word invented for designating a phenomenon Fluorescence is a beautiful example of a term whose etymology is not obvious at all; in particular, it is strange, at first sight, that it contains fluor which is not a fluorescent element! In contrast, the etymologies of phosphorescence and luminescence are straightforward: both these terms contain light øως1in Greek and lumen in Latin, respectively) Let us examine first these two terms.


Zinc Sulfide Calcium Fluoride Barium Sulfate Quinine Sulfate Calcium Sulfide 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

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  • B Valeur

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