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The chemical formula for zinc sulfide is ZnS.
Zinc sulfide occurs naturally in the form of the mineral sphalerite, but it can also be synthesized. When heated to a temperature of 102 degC, the stable beta crystalline form of ZnS changes into the alpha form (wurtzite).
Besides being used as an optical material for visible light and infrared light, zinc sulfide can be shaped into lenses and optics, or even planar windows. Its transparent nature makes it an excellent choice for luminous dials.
Phosphorescent materials can be prepared by combining different activators with zinc sulfide. Its phosphorescence is a useful property for a variety of ornamental and electrical applications, from cathode ray tubes to glow-in-the-dark products.
The simplest method of preparing ZnS for phosphorescent purposes is to dope it with a suitable activator, such as sulfur vacancies. After that, it can be used for making phosphorescent paints and other decorative materials.
Another way of preparing ZnS is to recombine it with a base such as sodium sulfide to form an electroluminescent material. This can then be used for a variety of applications, including the production of color TV and monochrome television displays.
The phosphorescent property of zinc sulfide can be made more prominent by adding a small amount of barium sulfate, which is known as lithopone. This is a very common pigment that can be found in many types of paints and rubber, as well as plastics.