Fluorescent guest molecules doped in polymers have been used to convert ultraviolet light into visible light for applications ranging from optical fibres to filters for the cultivation of plants. The wavelength conversion process involves the absorption of light at short wavelengths followed by fluorescence emission at a longer wavelength. However, a precise understanding of the light conversion remains unclear. Here we show light responses for a purified polystyrene base substrates doped with fluorescent benzoxanthene in concentrations varied over four orders of magnitude. The shape of the excitation spectrum for fluorescence emission changes significantly with the concentration of the benzoxanthene, indicating formation of a base substrate/fluorescent molecule complex. Furthermore, the wavelength conversion light yield increases in three stages depending on the nature of the complex. These findings identify a mechanism that will have many applications in wavelength conversion materials.
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