- Fluorescein is a dark red solid but when dropped in water, the solution takes on a bright, vibrant green color.
- By using a magnetic stirrer, a strong downward force is applied to the dye. This inhibits the dye from spreading, creating a tornado-like look
How to create a fluorescent Tornado
- Dissolve some of the fluorescein powder in a minimal amount of water. The solution should be dark red in color.
- Fill the graduated cylinder with water and drop in a stir bar. Then place it on the magnetic stirrer.
- When ready, turn on the UV-lamp, turn on the magnetic stirrer to full power, and drop in some of the fluorescein solution.
How does Fluorescence work?
Fluorescence is the emission of radiation (light) from a substance, the atoms of which have received an excess amount of energy, for example from ultraviolet light.
Without a source of energy, the fluorescence stops. Many substances possess this property, for example, fluorescein, quinine, the chlorophyll of plants and many others. The Stokes shift illustrates why we can’t see UV-light (which is absorbed by the substance at a lower wavelength than we can see) but can see the strong fluorescence in the visible light spectrum (in our case vibrant green).
By using a magnetic stirrer we are creating are strong downward pull. This inhibits the fluorescein from spreading, leaving some of the water uncolored.