What do bouncy balls, reflective safety vests, and glow-in-the-dark unicorn posters have in common? They are all produced with fluorescent pigments. As explained in this American Chemical Society video, these pigments absorb and re-emit both visible and ultraviolet light, which makes them extra vibrant to the human eye, particularly under black light.
Fluorescent pigments got their start in the middle of the last century when two amateur chemist brothers combined fluorescent dyes with a plastic resin. The company they began now produces 4.5 million pounds of pigment every year, and in 2012 DayGlo Color Corp. was named a National Historic Chemical Landmark.
Take a video tour of the factory to see how these eye-popping colors come to life.