When light bombards a molecule, a photon may be absorbed, in which case the extra energy causes the molecule’s bonds to vibrate more vigorously. Some of that extra vibrational energy dissipates into the molecule’s surroundings as heat. If the energy is not completely dissipated, the vibrations may align to create and emit a new photon with lower energy and a (usually) longer wavelength; that is, they fluoresce.

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