Create Glowing Messages

Create Glowing Messages

Create Glowing Messages

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You will need:

A black light

Petroleum jelly

Paper

A dark room

Secret glow in the dark science experiment - materials needed
1 Secret glow in the dark science experiment - rubbing vaseline on paper

Dip your finger into the petroleum jelly and write a secret message on the paper.

2 Secret glow in the dark science experiment - turning on the UV back light

Turn on the black light and turn off the lights in your room.

3 Secret glow in the dark science experiment - secret message on paper revealed under a UV black light

Shine the backlight onto the paper.

4 Secret glow in the dark science experiment - secret message on paper revealed under a UV black light

Can you read the message clearly? Why?

Why Does This Happen?

Visible light ranges in frequency from VIOLET (400nm) to RED (700nm).
Black lights emit the invisible ultraviolet light called UV-A, which has less energy than the sunburn causing UV-B light.

Some chemicals can absorb energy from invisible UV-A light and emit it as visible light.
These chemicals are said to be fluorescent and can occur in everyday items such as
laundry detergents, driver’s licences, air mail, nail polish, oils and even money!

All materials are made up of atoms, whereby electrons move in layered orbits or ‘shells’ around a central nucleus of protons and neutrons (except the nucleus of Hydrogen which contains only a proton). Fluorescence occurs when the UV-A light energizes the electrons surrounding the atoms that make up the paper. As the electrons get energized, they move to the outer orbit (or electron shell). Once the electrons lose their additional energy they fall back to their original orbit, releasing any remaining extra energy as visible light.

Forensic scientists can use fluorescence of chemicals to link a crime scene to the guilty person!

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