what is photoluminescence


What is photoluminescence?

Photoluminescence is a special kind of phosphorescence. The energy needed to activate it is supplied by common light sources such as daylight, tungsten filament and fluorescent lights. Under sudden power loss situations, the material is conspicuous at some distance, providing an effective, bright contrast for text and graphical symbols and ensuring that safety messages are quickly recognised. This assists people to orientate themselves so that they can react effectively and evacuate efficiently.

Glow in the dark signs

How do the materials work?

JALITE photoluminescent materials contain purpose designed inorganic phosphor compounds that are energised in seconds by the ultra violet and blue light wavelength energy that is
present in nearly all light sources.

This high-energy source is converted into a lower energy source of light. The lower energy light source is yellow-green, the colour most readily perceived by the human eye and as
specified by safety signs standards.

JALITE photoluminescent materials are non-radioactive and non-toxic and provide a strong light source. They are also self-extinguishing, so they carry on working when they are
most needed.


How is the material used?

JALITE photoluminescent materials can be used for many safety applications, including:

  • Life saving equipment identification
  • Fire safety signs
  • Health and safety signs
  • Escape route marking
  • Low location illumination
  • Directional route marking tape

The materials have already been successfully applied in the following sectors:

  • Government
  • Hospitals
  • Chemicals
  • Transport
  • Power
  • Industrial
  • Navy
  • Leisure
  • Marine
  • Education
  • Financial
  • Retail

The materials are also suitable for use in a wide range of commercial applications.

Why Signs?

When an emergency occurs, the time between the lights going out and the emergency lights coming on, coupled with the sound of the fire alarm is the time when panic and confusion can set in. Photoluminescent safety signs emit a strong light source under sudden power loss situations. This helps people to orientate themselves to ensure that they can evacuate efficiently and effectively

Jalite Signs

Will Photoluminescence replace traditional lighting?

JALITE photoluminescent materials were originally designed to complement existing emergency lighting systems but continuous improvements in luminance performance mean that in certain circumstances high quality photoluminescent products can replace emergency lighting.

They can be sited at waist or skirting level so they can still function if the ceiling lights become obscured by smoke. Similarly, life saving appliances and fire fighting equipment become more visible and are easily located in an emergency. Some emergency lighting can take up to 15 seconds to activate. In these instances, photoluminescence can be a lifesaver.

Are signs required above extinguishers?

The requirement for any safety sign is determined by the formal risk assessment. In respect to fire fighting equipment including fire alarms the test is quite simple.

  • Can they be identified and located quickly and effectively in an emergency?
  • Do all the building occupants know the exact location of this vital equipment?

If the answer is likely to be no to any extent then the Health and Safety (Safety Signs & Signals) Regulations requires the use of appropriate markings or signs.

The most important parts of any risk assessment is objective data. The only data we have on this subject is that from Essex Fire & Rescue who have states that a large percentage of employees do not know the location of their fire extinguishers. If this is the case there is clear evidence that they need to be appropriately signed.