Have you ever wondered why the mark made by a highlighter looks like its glowing, compared to the a regular marker? Or how a glow stick works?
The answer is LUMINESCENCE!
Luminescence is the production of light from non-thermal sources. The are multiple sources that can be used to power the emission of light.
One way that light can be produced is by exposing substances to ultraviolet rays. During this process high energy light is absorbed (UV light), which raise the electrons to an excited state. In order for the electrons to come back down to their ground state, they give off energy by emitting light at a lower energy wavelength. This is the process of fluorescence.
Chemiluminscence is the production of light from a chemical reaction. Glow sticks are powered through this process. There is a small glass vial inside glow sticks that contain a chemical solution. The chemical solution is usually hydrogen peroxide, which is called the activator. When you snap the glow stick the vial breaks, and the hydrogen peroxide reacts with the solution inside.
In this demonstration, students get to see some pretty cool chemical mixtures that produce an array of vibrant colors. Some of the mixtures can be made from everyday items we find at home. All of the molecules that students will see are ones that will glow under black light but may not glow bright enough under normal light.