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Chemiluminescence of Luminol

During the course of certain chemical reactions, energy is released in the form of light in a process called chemiluminescence. In nature, this phenomenon can be observed in fireflies or lightening bugs. The commercial light sticks that glow in the dark are based on the same principle.

Illustration

Materials

Solution A

  • Anhydrous sodium carbonate, Na2CO3
  • Distilled water
  • Luminol (3-aminophthalhydrazine), C8H7O2N3
  • Sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO3
  • Ammonium carbonate monohydrate, (NH4)2CO3.H2O
  • Copper (II) sulfate pentahydrate, CuSO4.5H2O

Solution B

  • Hydrogen peroxide, H2O2
  • Erlenmeyer flasks
  • Glass funnel
  • Tygon tubing
  • Ring stand with clamps

 

Beaker PhotoProcedure

In a darkened room, solutions A and B are poured simultaneously into a large glass funnel with a spiral delivery tube emptying into a large glass container. The mixed liquids emit a blue chemiluminescent glow as they flow through the tube and into the container. The glow persists for more than 2 minutes.

 

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Other Demos: Chemiluminescence of Luminol, Photoresists, High Energy Emitters for Organic Light-emitting Diodes, The Spectrum and Complementary Colors, "Titrations" with Dry Ice, The Red-White-Blue Clock

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