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Luminescence of Liquids and Solids

Nature volume 154, page 625 (18 November 1944) | Download Citation



THE study of luminescence, particularly the luminescence of solids, has undergone profound changes during the last ten years. Before that time, knowledge of energy states and energy transfers in the liquid and solid states was exceedingly meagre; the subject of luminescence as a whole had a very uncertain theoretical basis. The recent advances have perhaps been more striking in the case of solids, and this can be traced in great part to the stimulation which the subject received from A. H. Wilson's papers on semi-conductors. Almost simultaneously, some of the newer discharge lamps began to pass from the laboratory to the manufacturing stage. The new mercury discharge lamps were at once a challenge to those interested in the luminescence of solids; for the emission spectrum of these lamps contained a plentiful proportion of near ultra-violet radiation, coupled with a deficiency of emission at the red end of the spectrum. Lamp manufacturers in many parts of the world successfully met this challenge, and greatly improved techniques for the preparation of luminescent solids were developed, with results that most of us are now familiar with. At the same time the more fundamental aspects of the subject received renewed attention (see, for example, the Faraday Society's Discussion on Luminescence, 1938), and it was clear that the subject was emerging from a period of empirical research previously dominated by the Lenard school, and documented, for example, in vol. 23 of the "Handbuch der Experimental Physik".

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