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Home / Science / This strange rock naturally glowed in the dark, and now scientists have found a way

This strange rock naturally glowed in the dark, and now scientists have found a way



The glow of the mineral hackmanite (or tenebrescent sodalite) is an intriguing natural phenomenon that has long been a mystery to scientists – even as we can now build synthetic materials. glow in the dark more effectively than anything in nature.

Geologists first described this mineral in the 1800s, who were intrigued by the tendency to turn a gentle pale pink color when broken or placed in darkness and lost in light. Subsequent research would narrow the chemistry behind this property, but the exact nature of the reaction proved to be elusive.

Now, a new study has accurately outlined how some types of hackmanite retain some light as they move from light to dark settings. What is important is the delicate interaction between the mineral̵

7;s natural impurities, which is determined by the way it is formed.

A better understanding of how hackmanite can glow white in the dark will help scientists develop our own synthetic materials that glow in the dark without any power source. such as on the exit sign.

“We did a lot of research with synthetic hackmanite and were able to develop a material that has a brighter light for longer than hackmanite,” said material chemist Isabella Norrbo from Turku University in Finland. nature.

“However, the conditions affecting the luminescence are so far unclear.”

A combination of both experimental and calculated data has been studied to determine that the concentration and balance of sulfur, potassium, titanium and iron are most important when it comes to the bright light generated by hackmanite. .

In particular, titanium is found to be the true luminous element, with the glow itself being provided by electron transfer.

However, the concentration of titanium alone is not sufficient to produce luminescence, but the proper mix of other elements is required.

Researchers say that synthetic materials can be improved and created more efficiently and reliably through these types of studies – even if nature cannot match the power of light emitters. can be fabricated in a laboratory.

Materials chemist Mika Lastusaari from the University of Turku said: “The materials used now are all composites, and for example, the familiar green glow material gets. its luminescence comes from an element called europium.

“The difficulty with this material is that while it is possible to add the desired luminescent element to them, their afterglow properties cannot be predicted.”

Hackmanite samples from Greenland, Canada, Afghanistan and Pakistan were used in the study, with an international group of chemists, mineralogy, geologists, physicists, statisticians and scientists. Another participant in research exactly what is going on with the hackmanite glow.

Part of the mystery is why some hackmanites glow and others don’t, but through careful comparison of different patterns, the team was able to uncover the necessary blend of blends. orange luminescence (turns absorbed photons into light), blue stable luminescence (emits light without heating), and purple luminescence (a form of chemical transformation caused by electromagnetic radiation ).

It’s a complex combination of natural elements and chemical reactions, but the result will be better synthetic materials that can match these types of luminosity. In terms of materials science, it is not only the luminosity of the luminescence but also its lifetime.

“With these results, we have obtained valuable information about the conditions affecting the posterior glow of hackmanite,” Lastusaari said.

“In this case, although nature cannot produce a material with the same efficient luminous capacity as a synthetic, nature has significantly helped in the development of more and more efficient luminous materials. than.”

Research has been published above Material chemistry.


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