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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 12 Issue 4 (2007) pp 279-281

Lecture Demonstrations of Fluorescence and Phosphorescence

David P. Richardson* and Raymond Chang

Department of Chemistry, Williams College, Williamstown, MA 01267,
Received November 9, 2006. Accepted June 20, 2007.

Published online: 4 August 2007

Abstract. Photoluminescence, the emission of light by molecules after photo excitation, is a standard topic in physical chemistry and analytical chemistry courses. This paper describes two lecture demonstrations of fluorescence of common substances (quinine and chlorophyll) and a demonstration of phosphorescence of naphthalene. A comparison of these two related phenomena provides an insight into electronic transitions and selection rules and the effect of deuterium substitution on the lifetime of phosphorescence.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; general chemistry; fluorescence; phosphorescence; quenching; deuterium substitution

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (99 KB) HTML format page numbers updated 9/15/07

Issue date: August 4, 2007

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