Treat Yourself to a Glowing Green Drink

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Learning Objectives: To be able to describe and demonstrate why some substances glow.

There was a lot of green going around today, the perfect time to make a glowing green drink! Two simple ways to make liquid items glow are to use tonic water, which can conveniently be bought at the grocery store, or to harvest the ink from the wick of a yellow highlighter–the Sharpie Accent brand seems to work quite well.  Use tonic water if you are going to consume the item, however highlighter ink will definitely give you the most bang for your buck!

Substances fluoresce under conditions in which their electrons absorb energy and fall down to a lower energy state. This process gives off energy in the form of light, leading to the glowing of the substance. In this case, UV or black light energizes the electrons in the tonic water or highlighter ink. The release of the absorbed energy from the electrons makes the drink glow.

You can make a glowing green drink using green-colored Gatorade. In a clear glass or cup mix the Gatorade 1:1 with diet tonic water. Put the drink under a fluorescent or black light. You can purchase black light bulbs at a variety of stores. I recently bought one at Walgreens.

Let the glowing begin!

Resources

Shining Science: Explore Glow in the Dark Water

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