Glow in the Dark

While at work, I came across a few glow in the dark items like shirts, hairspray, and nail polish. What makes things like this glow in the dark? Is it the same thing as what makes glow sticks work, or are the two seperate?


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Saffy Laurio

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Answers ( 1 )

  1. Glow in the dark pigments work via photoluminescence to store and release light while glow sticks use fluorescence to generate light.

    Glow in the dark pigments are phosphorescent. Strontium luminate in the pigment absorbs energy in the form of light. Afterwards it will slowly re-emit light over time, anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.

    Glow sticks are an example of fluorescence, where absorbed radiation is re-emitted immediately. Glow sticks rely on chemiluminescence. This is a chemical reaction between hydrogen peroxide (which is acidic) with the base catalyst of sodium salicylate, along with diphenal oxylate and a fluorophore dye. The dye determines the color of the light that is produced.

    When you bend the large flexible plastic tube you break a glass capsule releasing hydrogen peroxide. Shaking the stick causes the chemicals to mix and react. Greater heat causes the reaction to speed up and release more light, cold will slow the reaction causing less light to be released.

    Once the chemiluminescence reaction stops, the glow stick will no longer produce light. 

    UTC 2020-10-10 05:50 AM 0 Comments

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