This box explores fluorescent materials — the natural illumination caused by exposure to ultraviolet light.
Box includes five items with info cards:
- LED Ultraviolet Flashlight.
- Ultraviolet Ink Marker.
- Uranium Glass Ball.
- Sumatran Amber Fossil.
- Manganoan Calcite Crystal.
LED Ultraviolet Flashlight
Ultraviolet (UV) light is a range of electromagnetic frequencies that are invisible to humans. In this range, the photons that make up light have enough energy to enact permanent chemical changes. This is why sunlight and tanning beds, both of which emit UV light, can damage your skin. This LED flashlight is capable of emitting long-wave ultraviolet (UVA) light.
Human's cannot see UV wavelengths. The visible violet color of the light is not ultraviolet. UV lights emit light from a small range of the electromagnetic spectrum, some of which is in the visible light range. Many animals can see ultraviolet light
Ultraviolet Ink Marker
This marker is just like any other, except its ink is only visible under ultraviolet (UV) light.
Anything drawn will be invisible to humans until exposed to UV light. The ink contains a photo-initiator which absorbs the high energy photons of UV radiation, but since the atoms in the ink want to be at their lowest energy state, the newly absorbed energy is forced out in the form of 2 new photons, one in the infrared range (i.e. heat) and one in the visible (typically blue/green range). The visible light emitted is called fluorescence.
You can even make your own UV ink with naturally fluorescent materials such as laundry detergent, tonic water, and vitamin B-12 dissolved in vinegar.
UV ink has found use in security purposes, as an authentication tool, protecting/hiding secret messages and even cleaning assessment.
You can use this marker to make hidden labels for your belongings, write secret messages, create UV art, and more.
Uranium Glass Ball
Uranium glass is a type of glass which contains a small amount of uranium. This causes it to glow an intense bright green under ultraviolet light.
It was once common for glass manufacturers to add small amounts of uranium oxide, about 2% by weight, to their items to achieve yellow or green coloration. This practice became less popular after the element was strictly regulated in the US under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954.
Since UV lights are now widely accessible, items made of uranium glass are now sought by many collectors. While the glass sphere included is very slightly radioactive, it is harmless to handle.
Sumatran Amber Fossil
Amber is the fossilized resin of prehistoric trees.
When it was excreted in ancient forests, the molecules became polymerized and cross-linked over millions of years, creating a solid fossil. The oldest amber has been dated to 320 million years old.
This reddish amber is from the Indonesian island of Sumatra and is approximately 10–30 million years old. There are occasionally fossilized insects trapped inside Sumatran amber, but its dark color can make them difficult to spot. Try holding your specimen in front of a light to check for yourself.
Amber is very soft, only about a 2 on the Mohs scale. Sumatran amber has the added property of fluorescing bright blue under UV light.
Manganoan Calcite Crystal
Calcite is a relatively common calcium carbonate mineral that is found around the world.
It forms a variety of crystal patterns and can occur in many different colors depending on the impurities within.
Mangano calcite is a manganese-rich variety. Manganese is a metal that is also a pure element. It is number 25 on the periodic table.
During formation in manganese-rich strata the calcium atoms were occasionally replaced with manganese atoms. This variety of calcite is pink in a range from pale to vibrant pink depending on the amount of manganese.
The calcite will also fuoresce brightly under ultraviolet light, typically pink or orange.