The PhoTOP consists of a flat disk 12 cm in diameter and a two-part aluminum spindle. The resulting spinning top has phosphorescent paint on one surface and instructions for its use on the opposite surface. It is intended to be combined with a 405nm UV/deep purple LED mini-flashlight (included) and/or a near UV/deep purple 405nm laser pointer (not included), or even with a smartphone light.
When the top is spun, the UV or other light source is pointed at the spinning top, phosphorescent surface, resulting in the formation of green luminescent spiral patterns, as well as Lissajous and other figures.
The PhoTOP has two intended uses: (1) as a toy or plaything for the amusement of children and students, as well as adults; (2) as an educational apparatus to illustrate principles of quantum mechanics and phosphorescence, as well as principles of pattern formation.
The PhoTOP has undergone extensive testing to meet all US safety standards. (It is intended for use by adults or children older than three years of age because of the possibility of swallowing the spindle by younger children.)
The PhoTOP can also be combined with a pendulum support structure. A PhoTOP/pendulum combination would consist of a device having a flat base on which to spin the top, with an upright post extending up from the base to support the pendulum and laser pointer. The post would be fitted with a lateral arm extending over the base, which would support the UV laser/pendulum to be hung from the arm over the center of the base. As the pendulum swings in the x-y (horizontal) plane, it will produce patterns on the phosphorescent vinyl, such as Lissajous figures when the top is not spinning, and more complex patterns including spirals when it is.
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