Tritium lumination is the use of gaseous tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, to create visible light. Tritium emits electrons through beta decay and, when they interact with a phosphor material, light is emitted through the process of phosphorescence. The overall process of using a radioactive material to excite a phosphor and ultimately generate light is called radioluminescence. As tritium illumination requires no electrical energy, it has found wide use in applications such as emergency exit signs, illumination of wristwatches, and portable yet very reliable sources of low intensity light which won't degrade human night vision or easily alert others to your presence. Gun sights for night use and small lights (which need to be more reliable than battery powered lights yet not interfere with night vision or be bright enough to easily give away your location) used mostly by military personnel fall under the latter application.
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