What Is a Photoluminescent Detectable Warning Surface System?

Empty Road at Night Lit by Neon Light

A photoluminescent detectable warning surface system is a walking surface that essentially glows in the dark. This type of system can be found used in buildings; on airplanes, rail, and subway stations; and in other areas where there can be a high volume of pedestrian traffic.

During the day or under normal lighting, the photoluminescent system will blend into its surroundings. When the lights are turned off, then the photoluminescence will start to glow and light up. The length of time the system will glow does depend on the type of technology being used to illuminate the system.

What Makes a Photoluminescent Detectable Warning Surface System Glow?

There are a few different technologies that can “power” a photoluminescent detectable warning surface system. The first one is the use of copper-activated zinc sulfide, which is the traditional standard first used when photoluminescence was initially developed.

The second method, which is used with a wide range of photoluminescent products and systems today, is using strontium aluminate, a patented phosphorescent chemical. The chemical is applied to specific areas where it needs to glow. The chemical lasts much longer than the traditional standard and glows as much as ten times brighter.

The chemical can be charged from either artificial or natural light sources. It stores light photons within the chemical. Once fully charged, the chemical gradually releases the light charge, which appears to glow in the dark in reduced light levels for many hours. One benefit of the patented phosphorescent chemical is it can be recharged numerous times without any noticeable decline in performance or illumination levels.

The third method is to use a rechargeable LED light system. If this method is used, there will be small solar panels attached to the system so it can absorb light and recharge the LED lights. The LED lights will illuminate when it is dark and remain light until the battery powering the lights is drained.

How Can a Photoluminescent System Benefit Pedestrians at Night?

A photoluminescent system benefits pedestrians at night because it makes it easier to see specific walkways and paths. Even if there is sufficient overhead lighting, there can still be areas on the ground that can be difficult to see clearly.

For example, many retail stores now have long walkways down the center of their parking lots. These walkways could be illuminated at night to make it easier to see with a photoluminescent system.

glow dome photoluminescent systems

How Is a Photoluminescent System Beneficial During a Power Outage?

A photoluminescent system is beneficial during a power outage since it does not rely upon a direct power source to illuminate. It can be used to help direct people to the nearest exits or other safe locations within a building, in a rail or subway station, and so on. A photoluminescent system provides an economical way for businesses and municipalities to enhance safety for people while, at the same time, improves their emergency preparedness.

To learn more about Glow-Dome™ photoluminescent systems, please feel free to contact ADA Solutions at 1-800-372-0519 today! Glow-Dome™ can be easily incorporated into ADA detectable warning surface systems so you can provide both visual and non-visual safety for everyone.