GID Vials, Tritium, TRASERS, Powders and Chemicals GLOW IN THE DARK!
So I get a lot of questions from my post and instructables.
Tritium Vials are Radioactive Hydrogen H3, also known as hydrogen-3 is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. It is contained in small glass vials coated in colored phosphor then encased in glass or sealed plastics. These are commonly seen in Gun Sights, Watches (TRASERS) and some Emergency Exit Signs.
Small amounts are legal and for approved uses. Read the NRC guides
Typically the Trit vials are small, expensive and dim. The latest GID (Glow in the Dark) Chemsticks, LED's and GID Powders or paints seems much more effective and usable.
* Cyalume, as used in a lightsticks, emits light by chemiluminescence of a fluorescent dye (also called fluorescor) activated by cyalume reacting with hydrogen peroxide in the presence of a catalyst, such as sodium salicylate. It is the most efficient chemiluminescent reaction known. up to 15% quantum efficiency.
New LED low power requirements and high Lumen or light output have provided many solutions that are low cost, high power and longer lasting.
GID Paint or Powders are "charged" with light or daylight sources as with your traditional kids toys or stickers. New products are brighter, glow longer and are now waterproof, have many colors and applications.
Also this is occasionally confused with the chemical illumination. However these paints powders and materials use common phosphorescent materials include zinc sulfide and strontium aluminate. Use of zinc sulfide for safety related products dates back to the 1930s. However, the development of strontium oxide aluminate, with a luminance approximately 10 times greater than zinc sulfide, has relegated most zinc sulfide based products to the novelty category. Strontium oxide aluminate based pigments are now used in exit signs, pathway marking, and other safety related signage.
Hope this helps!
01/2011 - Update Source for Materials
Additional Tritium Resources
* U.S. NRC: http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/operating/ops-experience/grndwtr-contam-tritium.html
* U.S. EPA: http://www.epa.gov/radiation/radionuclides/tritium.htm
* U.S. DOE (Argonne National Lab): http://www.ead.anl.gov/pub/doc/tritium.pdf
* California EPA: http://www.oehha.ca.gov/water/phg/allphgs.html
* University of Idaho: http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/tritium.htm