Database of luminescent Minerals


Chemical Formula: Ca5(PO4)3F

Familly: Phosphates, Arseniates, Vanadates

Status: IMA-GP

Crystal System: Hexagonal

Mineral for Display: Yes

Associated names (luminescent varieties, discredited names, synonymes etc.):  apatitemanganapatitesombrerite


UV Type Main color Intensity Observation Frequency
Long Waves (365nm):      Pale Yellow Weak
Mid waves (320 nm):      Violet Medium
Short Waves (254 nm):      Orangy yellow Strong
Other colors LW:                                                                                          
White , Bluish White , Yellowish White , Pinkish White , Pale Yellow , Yellow , Orangy yellow , Dark Orange /Tawn , Tawn , Orange Red , Violet Pink , Salmon pink , Yellowish Green , Green , Greenish , Greenish white , Violet blue , Yellowish ,
Other colors MW:                                        
Yellowish White , Pinkish White , Pale Yellow , Yellow , Orangy yellow , Violet Pink , Greenish white , Violet blue ,
Other colors SW:                                                                                     
Bluish White , Yellowish White , Pinkish White , Pale Yellow , Yellow , Orangy yellow , Orange , Dark Orange /Tawn , Tawn , Violet Pink , Greenish Yellow , Yellowish Green , Green , Greenish , Blue , Greenish white , Yellowish ,

Daylight Picture

Col. G.Barmarin; Photo: G. Barmarin

Long Waves Picture (365nm)

Col. G.Barmarin; Photo: G. Barmarin

Short Waves Pictures (254nm)

Col. G.Barmarin; Photo: G. Barmarin


Galerie de photos:


     To the gallery (18 images in the gallery)

Phosphorescence (in the common meaning of the term) seen by naked eye:

No Data

Thermoluminescence: Yes


Variété MANGANAPATITE: OL et OC: jaune, orange ; Activators: Eu2+, Ce3+, Mn2+, Dy3+, Nd3+, Sm3+ and Sm2+; TR3+ are located in the high symmetry Ca(I) position (Gorobets, Marfunin, Waychunas). Large pics: Mn2+ 569 nm, Mn3+ 583nm (yellow band); Other activator: U: 467, 486, 505, 526, 550 nm (gaft); Blue and violet luminescent colors due to Ce3+ and Eu2+; pink, violet pink, yellow pink: Sm3+, Dy3+; yellow band due to Mn2+ (Marfunin)


The luminescence spectrum of fluorapatite from Panasqueira, Portugal, is characterized by four emission bands 349 nm (bandwidth:,10 nm) (REE possibly Ce3+); 445 nm (40nm)(REE possibly Eu2+); 555 rm (100 nm)(Mn2+ + REE sensitization (co-activator/UV absorber) most probably Ce3+ and Eu2+); 701 nm (50 nm)(Unknown activator). (Source see link to article below)


The diversity of the luminescence in Apatite is created in part by:

- the ability of the apatite structure to incorporate transition metal, REE and anion impurity activators and co-activators, often in combination;

- the varying types of associations and formation conditions that promote luminescence activity; and

- the nature of the structure of the apatite host itself.


This favorable and flexible host structure has not been lost to commercial enterprises, as apatites have long been used as synthetic phosphors in industrial and consumer products. (Apatite Luminescence, Glenn A. Waychunas, Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry; January 2002; v. 48)


Ninety-five percent of the phosphorus on Earth belongs to the minerals of the apatite group


Synthetic fluorapatite doped with manganese-II and antimony-V formed the basis for the second generation of fluorescent tube phosphors referred to as halophosphors (before 1942, synthetic Mn-doped willemite was used). When irradiated with 253.7 nm mercury resonance radiation they fluoresced with broad emission which appeared within the range of acceptable whites. The antimony-V acted as the primary activator and produced a broad blue emission. The addition of manganese-II produced a second broad peak to appear at the red end of the emission spectrum at the expense of the antimony peak, excitation energy being transferred from the antimony to the manganese by a non-radiative process and making the emitted light appear less blue and more pink. Replacement of some of the fluoride ions with chloride ions in the lattice caused a general shift of the emission bands to the longer wavelength red end of the spectrum. These alterations allowed phosphors for Warm White, White and Daylight tubes, (with corrected color temperatures of 2900, 4100 and 6500 K respectively), to be made. The amounts of the manganese and antimony activators vary between 0.05 and 0.5 mole percent. Sometimes some of the calcium was substituted with strontium giving narrower emission peaks.


Since about 1990 the third generation TriPhosphors, three separate red, blue and green phosphors activated with rare-earth ions and mixed in proportions to produce the desired color, have largely replaced halophosphors.

Main Activator(s) and spectrum:

Most Common Activator: Mn2+

Other activators:            (UO2)2+ (Uranyl ion) as impurities , Sm2+ , Eu2+ , Ce3+ , Sm3+ , Eu3+ , Dy3+ , Er3+ , Tb3+ , Pr3+ , Nd3+ , Gd3+ , Yb3+ , Yb2+ , Tm3+ ,

Peaks in the spectrum (nm):

Gd3+: 307,312nm
Tm3+: 364nm
Ce3+: 375-400
Tb3+: 383, 387, 389, 411, 415, 420, 436, 439, 443, 446nm (in Ca(I) position)
Tm3+: 452,703
Eu2+: 450-460 (in Ca(I) & Ca(II) position)

U: 467, 486, 505, 526, 550nm
Mn2+ (repl. Ca2+): 569nm (decaytime: 1,5ms)  (in Ca(I) & Ca(II) position &  adsorption on carbonate-fluor-apatite surface)

Mn3+: 583nm
Dy3+: narrow lines at 470, 475, 478, 481, 488,485, 570, 575, 580, 586, 579, 651, 656, 661, 664 nm (in Ca(I) position)
Sm3+: 560, 563, 565, 593, 595,599, 603, 604, 637, 639, 641, 646, 651, 695, 704, 710, 652 nm (in Ca(I) & Ca(II) position)
Ce3+: 543nm  (in Ca(I) & Ca(II) position) (decaytime: 20ns)
O2 in channels: 687, 762nm
H2O in channels: 719, 729, 817, 823, 829nm
MnO3-4 repl. PO3-4:, 1143, 1158nm
Eu3+: 573, 616, 631, 578, 608, 615, 627, 579, 590, 618, 653, 700nm (in Ca(I) position)
Sm2+: 689, 691, 695, 704, 708, 711, 716, 724, 726, 733, 736, 749,773, 774, 778, 798, 815nm
Nd3+: 862, 873, 880, 890, 893, 897,910, 1058, 1065, 1070nm (in Ca(I) position)
Yb3+: 993nm (Ca(II) position)
Pr3+:  (in Ca(I) position)
Er3+:  (in Ca(I) position)

Spectrum: Michael Gaft, Petah Tikva, Israel. Plot: Institute of Mineralogy, University of Vienna, Austria, with permission of the authors.


  To the spectrum gallery (44 spectra in the gallery)

Comments on activators and spectra:

The structure of the apatite is hexagonal, with the symmetry group P63/m.

There are two different sites for the Ca2+ in this structure: 40 % of Ca2+ ions are associated with the Ca(I) sites and 60 % are associated with Ca(II) sites.

The point group symmetry of the Ca(I) site is C3, with each Ca having six oxygen nearest neighbors that form a distorted triangular prism about the Ca2+ ion. The Ca(II) site has Cs symmetry with the Ca2+ ions sitting at the corners of equilateral triangles with an F ion in the center (see Gaft).

In nature, REE can easily substitute for Ca, becoming luminescence centers.

With steady-state luminescence spectroscopy, it was discovered that Eu2+, Ce3+, Mn2+, Dy3+, Nd3+, Sm3+ and Sm2+ mainly determine apatite luminescence. It was established that REE3+ have been detected only in the high symmetry Ca(I) position. (see Gaft)

Best Locality for luminescence(*):

(*)Data are not exhaustive and are limited to the most important localities for fluorescence

Bibliographical Reference for luminescence:

Luminescence Reference on internet:

Mineralogical Reference on internet:

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