Photonics Dictionary

fluorescent screen

A fluorescent screen refers to a phosphorescent or fluorescent-coated surface that emits visible light when exposed to other forms of electromagnetic radiation, such as x-rays or ultraviolet light. These screens are commonly used in various imaging and display technologies. The process involves the conversion of higher-energy, non-visible radiation into lower-energy, visible light.

Here are a few specific contexts in which fluorescent screens are frequently employed:

X-ray imaging: In medical and industrial x-ray imaging, fluorescent screens are often used to convert x-rays into visible light. When x-rays pass through a patient or object, they strike a fluorescent screen coated with materials that emit visible light upon x-ray interaction. This emitted light can then be captured and used to create x-ray images.

Cathode-ray tubes: In older television and computer monitor technologies, cathode-ray tubes used phosphorescent coatings on the screen. The electron beam from the CRT would strike these coatings, causing them to emit visible light and create the images on the screen.

Fluorescence microscopy: Fluorescent screens are also utilized in fluorescence microscopy. In this application, samples are labeled with fluorescent dyes, and when exposed to specific wavelengths of light (excitation light), they emit fluorescence that is captured by the microscope's detector. The emitted light is often displayed on a screen for observation.

Image intensifiers: Image intensifiers in night vision devices use phosphorescent screens to convert low levels of light into visible images. Photons from ambient light strike a photocathode, releasing electrons that are then accelerated and cause phosphor screens to emit visible light, amplifying the original image.

The specific materials used for the fluorescent coating can vary, and they are chosen based on their ability to efficiently convert the incoming radiation into visible light. The application of fluorescent screens has evolved with advancements in technology, but the fundamental principle involves the conversion of one form of electromagnetic radiation into visible light for imaging or display purposes.

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