Can’t get enough of bubbles? Here at AstroCamp we love playing with them too! This is a great DIY that you should definitely try at home. All you will need to make fluorescent bubbles is a blacklight, bowl, dish soap, ink from a highlighter, a little water, and a bubble wand. Then let the fun begin!
But what are you really seeing? We know that can have a funny way of working sometimes, and fluorescence is one of those times. Fluorescence is a property that only some materials have. It is the property of absorbing light of a short wavelength and high energy, and then emitting it at a longer wavelength and lower energy. This is a type of luminescence which is the emission of light due to a chemical reaction, electrical stimulation, or stress on crystals.
For the case of the fluorescent bubbles, the violet and ultraviolet light interacts with the highlighter fluid. Don’t worry, it is a low energy ultraviolet that will not harm you. Ultraviolet light is too high of an energy for humans to see. The highlighter fluid absorbs that high energy light, and then emits its own lower energy, visible light, which we can see as the impressive glow! Try it out with different colors to experiment which colors of highlighter fluid works best.
But where else is ultraviolet found? Did you know that the sun is the main source of ultraviolet light? There are actually some animals on Earth, like reindeer and butterflies that can see in the ultraviolet spectrum, and some flowers that have patterns in their petals that can only be seen in the the ultraviolet. So the next time you are outside on a bright sunshiny day, get your fluorescent bubble solution out and try to see the world through a new filter.