Contact Information

Author
  • Miguel O. Mitchell
  • Professor
  • Chemistry
  • Salisbury University
  • Salisbury, MD 21801
Email
Phone
(410) 677 - 5064
Website

A Greener Chemiluminescence Demonstration

Author Contact: momitchell@salisbury.edu

Summary

This demonstration shows students a long-lasting, chemiluminescent reaction in light sticks without the toxic solvents. The instructor must prepare the chemiluminescent reagent, divanillyl oxalate, in a one-step synthetic procedure or can have the students prepare the reagent as part of an organic chemistry experiment.

Solvents acceptable for the chemiluminescence reaction are ethyl acetate or triacetin; divanillyl oxalate forms what appears to be a colloidal suspension, not a true solution. Dissolve 20 mg divanillyl oxalate in 20 mL solvent with magnetic stirring for 20 minutes before addition of the fluorescer. Subsequently, dissolve 5 mg fluorescer (such as perylene, about 2 minutes magnetic stirring), add 1.0 mL 30% hydrogen peroxide (for ethyl acetate) or 3% hydrogen peroxide (for triacetin), darken the room, and add 1.0 mL 1M NaOH (aq) to initiate chemiluminescence.

Summary prepared March 2012 by Professor Miguel O. Mitchell, Salisbury University.

Source

Jilani, O.; Donahue, T.; Mitchell, M. O. A Greener Chemiluminescence Demonstration, J. Chem. Educ,, Print 2011, 88, pp 786-787.

Category Descriptors

Chemistry Concepts
  • Carbonyl Chemistry
  • Esters
  • Nucleophilic Substitution
Green Chemistry Principles
  • Design for Degradation
  • Design Safer Chemicals and Products
Chemistry Subdiscipline
  • Organic Chemistry
Target Audience
  • Colleges/Universities
  • General Public
  • Primary Schools
  • Secondary Schools
Source
  • Journal Articles