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Author Topic: Is there a safe glow-in-the-dark liquid?  (Read 10216 times)

Offline thedoc

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Is there a safe glow-in-the-dark liquid?
« on: 18/07/2012 02:30:02 »
Christine Mentzel  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hi Chris,

I wonder if you could help or put me in touch with someone that could help with the following:

I came across a very cool and simple idea to provide more light into dark shacks (the idea stems from the Phillipines: http://isanglitrongliwanag.org/), which would be very useful in many areas of South Africa too. The current constraint is that it only works with sunlight on the outside and essentially filters this light through into the shack. My question is around enhancing this to be able to shed light for a while after sunset too, i.e. using something in the liquid in the bottle that "glows in the dark". I have tried to find more info on luminescence, but nothing concrete to date.
Please could you let me know if you have any ideas as to whom I could contact to chat about this. It would be fantastic, if we could add something to the water in the "bottle bulbs" that would allow them to light a room for a few hours after sunset. The catch is, of course, that this "additive" should ideally also be environmentally friendly ;-).

I look forward to hearing from you and hope that you can help in some way.

Best regards

Christine

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 18/07/2012 02:30:02 by _system »


 

Online evan_au

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Re: Is there a safe glow-in-the-dark liquid?
« Reply #1 on: 21/07/2012 13:20:43 »
A clever way to improve people's lives!

Phosphorescent materials can absorb light and re-emit it later:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phosphorescence

Challenges: The glow is not very bright - it's easier to see the glowing surface than it is to see something by the light emitted from the glowing surface.  The light intensity also drops quickly after the light source ceases (seconds to hours).

If you coat the bottle by a material that absorbs the light, then it won't light up the house very well during the day.

The best form of solar storage today is solar cells, coupled to a battery and LED lighting - unfortunately a lot more expensive than a discarded drink bottle!


 

Offline schneebfloob

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Re: Is there a safe glow-in-the-dark liquid?
« Reply #2 on: 27/07/2012 12:48:02 »
For glow in the dark purposes there are biochemical options. Luciferin + luciferase reactions produce light, as seen in fireflies. There are also fluorescent proteins, such as GFP and Aequorin, that can be recombinantly popped into bacteria. The amount of light wouldn't be great, but might be handy in highlighting steps or something in the dark.
 

Offline Lab Rat

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Re: Is there a safe glow-in-the-dark liquid?
« Reply #3 on: 13/12/2012 21:14:49 »
You might want to look up chemiluminescence on the Internet.  Chemiluminescence is what happens in objects such as glow sticks.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Is there a safe glow-in-the-dark liquid?
« Reply #4 on: 14/12/2012 08:00:47 »
I found glow sticks on the internet.  They don't sound too palatable.  And, single use is probably not too desirable.  There are many cheaper ways to make light like kerosene. 

I presume your Phosphorescent material, as mentioned above could be either painted to areas such as the John that one might wish to illuminate at night.  Or, if you wished to have a liquid, perhaps particles floating in an oil or water base.

I do agree with Evan that conventional solar or wind energy may be far superior for a light source.
 

Offline Lab Rat

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Re: Is there a safe glow-in-the-dark liquid?
« Reply #5 on: 19/12/2012 17:57:04 »
I found glow sticks on the internet.  They don't sound too palatable.  And, single use is probably not too desirable. 

I was just using glow sticks as an example of something that uses the property of chemiluminescence.
 

Offline Shadow1

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Re: Is there a safe glow-in-the-dark liquid?
« Reply #6 on: 22/12/2012 12:23:49 »
Christine Mentzel  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
The catch is, of course, that this "additive" should ideally also be environmentally friendly ;-).


What do you think?
I would say, that the catch is, to find a material that can emit enough light, to be able actually to see something during night, because the phosphorescent materials will emit just enough to be able to see the bottle, nothing else, to be environmentally friendly is the least concern i think.
 

Offline Atomic-S

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Re: Is there a safe glow-in-the-dark liquid?
« Reply #7 on: 07/01/2013 06:44:13 »
A problem with a phosphorescent material is that during the day, it is losing light as fast as it is absorbing it. It actually glows during the day but you can't see it against the daylight. lUnfortunately, this loss means that it does not accumulate a large load of light. What is really needed is a substance that will "charge" during the day without losing the energy. Then, there must be a way to turn it on at night. That of course brings us back to the solar-cell and battery idea. Expensive. Another approach might be that the material behaves as an absorber only under one condition, and an emitter only under another. What would the condition be? Perhaps temperature. Perhaps a substance could be devised that would accumulate energy from the sun when hot, and release it when cool. Another possibility might be a material that would absorb when electrically neutral, then emit when electrically polarized. Unfortunately, to exploit such properties would seem to require additional apparatus, because it would be unlikely that efficient operation would be possible unless a small amount of the material could be exposed in the accumulation state for a short time  and then moved to a tank to await later use, so it would be like pumping the fluid from one tank through a rudimentary solar panel (basically nothing but a window) where the necessary temperature, or whatever, would exist, and then on into the storage tank. At night the fluid would be pumped from the tank through another panel having the reverse condition, causing emission. Of course, this is so complicated that it is probably not practical.
 

Offline syhprum

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Re: Is there a safe glow-in-the-dark liquid?
« Reply #8 on: 22/03/2013 22:42:42 »
My neighbour has planted his garden with devices that consist of a PV cell battery and LED which glow all night and seem to cost little.

http://www.worldofsolar.com/solar-path-lights/?gclid=CMzGn5-zkbYCFabLtAoddEgAIA

These devices seem to cost more than I thought !
« Last Edit: 22/03/2013 22:50:32 by syhprum »
 

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Re: Is there a safe glow-in-the-dark liquid?
« Reply #8 on: 22/03/2013 22:42:42 »

 

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