A steady-state fluorescence technique was used to examine the annealing of films formed from high-T latex particles above the glass transition temperature. The films were prepared by sintering pyrene-labeled poly(methyl methacrylate) latex particles. During the annealing processes, the transparency of the film changed considerably. Direct fluorescence emission from excited pyrene was monitored as a function of annealing temperature to detect these changes. Scanning electron microscopy in conjunction with Monte Carlo simulations of photon diffusion in latex film were used to interpret the fluorescence results. Healing temperature and time were measured at the point where the fluorescence emission intensity becomes maximum. This was associated with the longest optical path of a photon in latex film during healing of particle-particle boundaries. Healing activation energy was measured and found to be 10 kcal/mol. (C) 1996 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.