Phosphorescent ink (was Re: NEN pen)

Bill Melchior wmelchior at
Tue Jun 15 09:21:32 EST 1993

>> > Bel-Art Products also make a pen that is non
>> > radioactive and can be used to mark autorads/films.  
>> Is that a phosphorescent pen like the outrageously expensive one from NEN?
>> Do you know the price and have a fax no?
> I purchased the NEN pen several years ago, and have never used it. The ink
> dried up immediatedly, and although I found out that chloroform can be used
> to thin it, I never got it to work satisfactorily. Have others had the
> problem? And found a solution?

Following a suggestion in BioTechniques from a few years back (I can look
up the reference if anyone wants it), workers here now use phosphoresecent
fabric ink, available for a few dollars from discount stores, craft stores,
and the like.  This is basically an acrylic paint.  Our users thin it
slightly with water (about one volume of water to five volumes of ink), and
vortex before using.  Keep it capped when not in use, and it has a pretty
good shelf life.  Thin relatively small amounts, like 100 microliters, at a
time.  It can be applied as small dots, using a capillary or a micropipet

Views expressed are not necessarily those of NCTR, its sponsoring agencies,
or the United States government.

Bill Melchior                                ||    
National Center for Toxicological Research   ||    ALL statements
Jefferson, AR  72079                         ||    in this
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