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If you shine light on some molecules, you may see light of a different color emitted from that molecules. This is known as fluorescence. The molecules absorbs high energy light (blue, for example). This increases the energy of the molecules, represented as the top black line in the diagram (an 'excited' molecules). Some of the energy from the blue photon is lost internally (represented by the red squiggly arrow in the picture). The molecules then emits a photon with less energy, green in this example. Fluorescein is a common dye that acts in exactly this way, emitting green light when hit with blue excitation light. The color of light emitted is material dependent, and likewise the excitation light wavelength depends on the material. (There are other forms of inelastic scattering; fluorescence is particularly strong.)
What is fluorescence?
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