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Pouring Phosphorescent Ink into Water is a Sight Right Out of SKYFALL

Even when Daniel Craig’s Bond is on the brink of death in Skyfall, he still has plenty of time to sink coolly through what appears to be an abstract ocean of his regrets, romantic entanglements (so many entanglements!), and some stunningly realistic drops of blood. But while the drops of blood in the film were 3D fluid simulations—something akin to these—it turns out that real-life phosphorescent ink being dropped into water puts on an equally impressive show.

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Image: Skyfall; MGM/Sony

The glimpse of these dollops of phosphorescent ink being dropped into a glass jar and yielding this Bond-ish visual effect isn’t even the crux of the above video by YouTuber Peter Draws. In fact, the video is more like an Alan Watts soliloquy combined with a Bob Ross painting lesson: It’s something you’d watch on your freshman dorm TV after having some of that “medication” your friend bought at the “pharmacy.”

In the video, Peter discusses how the “brain-jar” of water is like a mind, and each drop of ink that’s poured into it is inspiration from the outside world. Those drops of inspiration that have been “drippily-dropped into [your] brain-jars,” Peter notes, can then be used for creation—in this case, drawing. To be fair, that metaphor kind of makes sense. The relation to how that’s like getting milk from almonds is a bit less clear.

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As for the ink itself, it’s called “Noodler’s Blue Ghost,” and according to its maker, it’s an invisible ink that glows underneath UV light. This means that the ink (made from phosphors) is photoluminscent—if you shine photons (in this case UV light), on the ink, its atoms’ electrons become excited, and as they “relax,” they re-radiate the photons. But while this ink is photoluminscent, it’s also specifically phosphorescent, meaning it “does not immediately re-emit the radiation it absorbs.” Instead, this ink absorbs UV radiation, and then (thanks to quantum effects!) slowly re-emits the light at a lower intensity for several minutes or even hours. This is why you can “charge up” this ink with not-visible, higher-frequency UV light, and then watch it glow with a lower-frequency, visible light in total darkness.

After you’ve watched the video and had your mind blown like Peter’s, let us know if you think this effect is cool enough to be considered Skyfall-level in the comments below.

Images: Peter Draws/YouTube


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