Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/27

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17
ON RADIANT MATTER.

Radiant Matter exerts Powerful Phosphorogenic Action where it strikes.—I have mentioned that the radiant matter within the dark space excites luminosity where its velocity is arrested by residual gas outside the dark space. But if no residual gas is left, the molecules will have their velocity arrested by the sides of the glass; and here we come to the first and one of the most noteworthy properties of radiant matter discharged from the negative pole—its power of exciting phosphorescence when it strikes against solid matter. The number of bodies which respond luminously to this molecular bombardment is very great, and the resulting colors are of every variety. Glass, for instance, is highly phosphorescent when exposed to a stream of radiant matter. Here (Fig. 2) are three bulbs composed of different glass: one is uranium glass {a), which phosphoresces of a dark-green color; another is English glass {b), which phosphoresces of a blue color; and the third (c) is soft German glass—of which most of the apparatus before you is made—which phosphoresces of a bright apple-green.

My earlier experiments were almost entirely carried on by the aid of the phosphorescence which glass takes up when it is under the influence of the radiant discharge; but many other substances possess this

Fig. 3.
PSM V16 D027 Phosphorescent qualities of gas molecues.jpg
 

phosphorescent power in a still higher degree than glass. For instance, here is some of the luminous sulphide of calcium prepared according to M. Ed. Becquerel's description. When the sulphide is exposed to light—even candle-light—it phosphoresces for hours with a bluish-white color. It is, however, much more strongly phosphorescent to the molecular discharge in a good vacuum, as you will see when I pass the discharge through this tube.