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Glow Sticks: Spectra and Color Mixing
1. Patricia B. O'Hara, Carol Engelson, and Wayne St. Peter, “Turning on light: Lessons from luminescence,” J. Chem. Educ. 82, 49–52 (Jan. 2005).
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Glow sticks are a popular Halloween staple familiar to most of our students. The production of light via a chemical reaction is called “chemiluminescence,” and glow sticks are often used as demonstrations and experiments in the chemistry classroom to study reaction rates as a function of temperature.1–3 A black light can be used to illuminate glow sticks that have not been cracked or those that are “dead” in order to demonstrate fluorescence in liquid chemicals.4 In this article, we present the use of glow sticks as an inexpensive demonstration of spectra and color addition.
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