Photoluminescent Profiles and Edgebanding: State-of-the-art

I decided to write this brief article to share some information and to clarify what, in my opinion, is the future development and research into phosphorescent items such as photoluminescent, fluorescent and retroreflective profiles and edgebandings. I would like to add that I’m going to be very specific concerning contents while keeping it as simple as possible.

However, it  is important to define the concept of luminescence, a word which is often used improperly.

Luminescence is a physical phenomenon whereby light is emitted by atoms and molecules which have been stimulated electronically rather than through an increase in the temperature of the object.

As we don’t need to understand different phenomena concerning light emission by an object, we are only going to discuss photon radiation. In other words, let’s avoid for example, the bioluminescence of fireflies seen in the animal world, or the triboluminescence caused by mechanical stimulation of a light-emitting object, and let’s concentrate on Photoluminescence.

Photoluminescence is the process whereby light is emitted by an object which has previously undergone photonic or ultraviolet radiationIn very simple terms, an object which has previously been illuminated, subsequently gives back light in the same or a different shade.

The words fluorescence and phosphorescence are often misused, so it is worth dwelling on them for a moment. They are not synonyms, as is generally thought, so let’s look at the difference.

Both of these phenomena generate light emission, deriving from previous photonic radiation, which then decreases in time. The difference lies in the fact that with fluorescence, the object loses luminosity almost instantaneously while with phosphorescence, the phenomenon lasts much longer, allowing light emission for many hours after the initial luminous radiation has ended.

Let’s get down to specifics: the ink pigments used in highlighting pens are fluorescent, while many watches have phosphorescent faces so that they can be seen throughout the night.

Now that we have cleared up this basic concept, how can we apply it to the production of photoluminescent products, be they extruded or printed? The possibilities are endless and some of them are of vital importance. In the fields of health and safety, flooring, home decoration, fashion and design, these products which are widely used and extremely useful.

To be honest, companies, Gildo Profilati included, have for decades been producing photoluminescent profiles to satisfy the evermore pressing market demand. However, the inherent problems are vast and difficult to solve.

From a technical point of view, the production of a luminescent profile or printed article involves using photoluminescent powders and pigments which are integrated into the basic raw material, usually polymeric thermoplastic granules and silicon rubbers. The higher or lower the percentage of pigment determines the level of the product’s luminosity.  The reasons which are currently preventing wider use of luminescent products are: extremely high cost of pigment,  limited variety of shades available, limited duration of light emission in dark spaces and, last but not least, difficulties in producing  the article.

Gildo Profilati has taken up the gauntlet: we have faced the problem and we believe we have solved it. We are now one of the few companies who can offer extruded profiles and edgebandings with long-lasting luminescence, high quality and an honest price.