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Glow-In-The-Dark Chemistry Explained!

Team StoryWeavers|July 3, 2020| 17

Twinkling string-lights during functions, complex crystal chandeliers, the soft glow from a night lamp – when we study about the beautiful phenomenon of light, we usually look at it from the angle of physics: with rays, refraction and reflection.

But what if we told you that light is an important part of chemistry too! In fact, light, when mixed with chemistry, is one of the most beautiful phenomena you can explore. Intrigued? Enter the world of chemiluminescence to learn more!

Chemiluminescence: Illuminating chemistry

Chemiluminescence (you can pronounce it as “kemi-lumi-ness-sense”) is the emission of light during a chemical reaction.

In a chemiluminescent reaction, the product formed from the reaction is in an excited state. Since excited states are unstable, the electrons in such compounds will do anything to gain stability. One way of doing this is by losing some of their energy. And while energy can neither be made nor destroyed, it can certainly be converted into a different form! So to attain stability, the electrons of these excited compounds give out energy in the form of light!

Luminol: Shedding light on clues

One of the most common chemiluminescent substances is luminol. When luminol mixes with an oxidizing agent, it starts glowing with a calm, blue light.

Luminol reacting with an oxidising agent in a petri dish. Image source: Flickr

This reaction takes place when luminol comes in contact with blood too. The iron from the haemoglobin in blood oxidises luminol to make it glow. Forensic scientists use this reaction to their benefit to find important clues during their investigations.

Glow Sticks: Lighting up the action

Glow sticks and other glow-in-the-dark toys use chemiluminescent reactions for their light too. Since this reaction is relatively safe and can illuminate surroundings for a while, glow sticks are also used by the police, campers and military personnel during rescue operations.

Glow sticks emit light because of a chemiluminescent reaction. Image source: Flickr

You can test an interesting property of chemiluminescent reactions if you have a glow stick at home. Want to give it a try?

Chemiluminescent reactions speed up with an increase in temperature, but the light they emit won’t last long. You can test this by putting a glow stick in hot water. It’ll become brighter but the light will die out soon. However, if you place a glow stick in the freezer, it’s light becomes dim but it keeps glowing for hours!

Bioluminescence: Lighting up nature

When chemiluminescent reactions occur in living organisms it is called bioluminescence. Various animals, insects and fungi that glow in the dark use chemiluminescent reactions to signal warnings, illuminate their surroundings, camouflage, lure prey or attract a mate.

Marine animals like the jellyfish are known to glow in the dark. Image source: Flickr

Blue-green light is the most common type of bioluminescence in marine animals since these animals can only detect light of this colour. Land animals however sometimes emit yellow light too.

Fireflies lighting up a forest with yellow light. Image source: Flickr

Now that you’ve seen how beautiful chemistry can be, how about a quick quiz to see how much you picked up from the world of chemiluminescence?

How many of these can you get right?
When does luminol glow?
Where are glow sticks used?
Why do some animals glow in the dark?

Let us know your answers in the comments!

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Comments


Priyanshu Gawas

July 18, 2020

Just fascinating!and about quiz
1.luminol glows when it comes in contact with an oxidising agent.
2.glowing sticks are used by police,campers and military constables during rescue operations
3.animals glow to illuminate their surroundings,signal warning, camouflage, life prey and attract mates.
I am Priyanshu thanks BYJU’S for such amazing and cool information.

Priyanshu Gawas


Srihari

July 9, 2020

We can even use fluorescent right?
Why only chemiluminescence?


Tiana chopra

July 9, 2020

It is amazing

Quick quiz answers – 1. When luminol is mixed with a oxidising agent , it starts to glow with a calm blue
light. 2. Glow sticks are used by police,camper and military personnel during rescue operations. 3. Various
Animal, insects and fungi glow in dark use chemiluminescence reactions to signal warning, camouflage,lure
Preyor attract to mate .


Sanskriti

July 9, 2020

1.When luminol mixes with a oxidising agent, it blows with a calm blue light. This also takes place in case luminol comes in contact with blood.
2. Glow sticks are use by police, campers as well as military personnel during their rescue operations.
3. Bioluminescence or chemiluminescence in nature of occurs in animals for signal warning illuminate their surroundings, camouflage, pure prey or sometimes in order to attract a mate. Blue green light in the most common bioluminescence since these marine animals can detect light of this colour. Although land animals may emit white light like that of firefly.


Harshita singh

July 8, 2020

Answer1-When luminol is sprayed evenly across an area, trace amounts of an activating oxidant make the luminol emit a blue glow that can be seen in a darkened room. The glow only lasts about 30 seconds, but investigators can document the effect with a long-exposure photograph.
Answer2-Glow sticks are often used for recreation, but may also be relied upon for light during military, police, fire, or emergency medical services operations. They are also used by military and police to mark “clear” areas.
Answer3-Worms and tiny crustaceans also use bioluminescence to attract mates. Humans primarily see bioluminescence triggered by a physical disturbance, such as waves or a moving boat hull, that gets the animal to show their light off, but often animals light up in response to an attack or in order to attract a mate.
Is all the answers was correct so please reply


Hardik sharma

July 5, 2020

1) One of the most common chemiluminescence substances is luminol . When luminol mixes with an oxidizing agent,it starts glowing with a calm, blue light. This reaction takes place when luminol comes in contact of blood too.the iron from the hemoglobin in blood oxidises luminol to make it flow 2) glow sticks are used by the police, campers and military personnel during rescue operations. 3) various animals, insects and fungi that glow in the dark use chemiluminescence reactions to singal warning, camouflage,lure preyor attract a mate.


Trrishan Saha

July 4, 2020

Sorry a mistake


Anvi Shetty

July 4, 2020

It is very interesting !


Amogh Kottada????

July 4, 2020

Awesome . It’s mind-blowing. I liked it very much. I never even thought that
Chemistry could be so fascinating.


PREET

July 4, 2020

1) One of the most common chemiluminescence substances is luminol .
When luminol mixes with an oxidizing agent,it starts glowing with a calm, blue light.
This reaction takes place when luminol comes in contact of blood too.the iron from the hemoglobin in blood oxidises luminol to make it flow
2) glow sticks are used by the police, campers and military personnel during rescue operations.
3) various animals, insects and fungi that glow in the dark use chemiluminescence reactions to singal warning, camouflage,lure preyor attract a mate.


DEVISHA BHARGAVA

July 3, 2020

I haven’t seen this type of chemical reaction.


Pooja .v

July 3, 2020

Wow very interesting! My quick quiz answers –
1. When luminol mixes with an oxidizing agent,it starts glowing with calm ,blue light. .This reaction even takes place when luminol comes in contact with blood too. The iron from the haemoglobin in blood oxidises luminol to make it glow.
2. Glow sticks are used by the police, campers and military personnel during rescue operations.
3. Various animals, insects and fungi that glow in the dark use chemiluminescent reactions to signal warnings, illuminate their surroundings, camouflage, lure prey or attract a mate.
These were my quick quiz answers.


Nischaya Garg

July 3, 2020

Wow! It’s just quite extraordinary..
My answers were:
1. Luminol glows when it comes in contact with an oxidising agent or blood.
2. Glow sticks are used in dark areas by police, campers, military personnel.
3. Some animals glow in dark to warn others,illuminate thier surroundings, attracts mates, camouflage etc..
These were my answers without reading again…??
Thank you Team Storyweavers to “brighten” the peculiar cases of Science…


Trrishan Saha

July 3, 2020

Wow! So beautiful this chemiluminescence is! And I have seen the Quick Quiz questions (ques) and here are my answers:
1. When luminol mixes with an oxidizing agent, it starts glowing with a calm, blue light. This reaction takes place when luminol comes in contact with blood too. The iron from the haemoglobin in blood oxidises luminol to make it glow.
2. Glow sticks are used by the police, campers and military personnel during rescue operations.
3. The glow-in-the-dark entities make use of variations on a chemical reaction which involves three chief components, namely luciferase that helps oxygen molecule to bind to an organic molecule which serves as a third ingredient known as luciferin. The high-energy molecules that are created by the reaction liberate energy in the form of light.
These are my answer of the Quick Quiz. Ques (questions). I am Trrishan Saha, Trishan Saha in Byju’s:The Learning App.
Love you Byju’s:The Learning App,
Thank you,
Trishan Saha.


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