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Shadow Box

Shadow Box
Capture a moment in time.

A bright flash of light illuminates a phosphorescent wall—imprinting temporary shadows that capture a moment in time. 

What’s going on?

A strobe light and a giant phosphorescent screen offer endless posing possibilities in this popular and long-lived exhibit favorite. 

The shadow-catching phosphorescent material on this wall is the same as you’ve probably seen in various “glow-in-the-dark” products. Energy from incoming light gets absorbed in this material in the form of excited electrons, that is, electrons raised to a higher energy state. As these electrons gradually de-excite, they release their energy as a visible glow.

Glow in the dark products, a role of tape and a bird toy Glow-in-the-dark products contain phosphorescent compounds—usually either zinc sulfide or strontium aluminate—that absorb the energy of incoming light and then release it over time. Photo © Lưu Ly.

Shadowbox Exhibit