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ERIC Number: EJ940770
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jun
Pages: 2
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 11
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
A Greener Chemiluminescence Demonstration
Jilani, Osman; Donahue, Trisha M.; Mitchell, Miguel O.
Journal of Chemical Education, v88 n6 p786-787 Jun 2011
Because they are dramatic and intriguing, chemiluminescence demonstrations have been used for decades to stimulate interest in chemistry. One of the most intense chemiluminescent reactions is the oxidation of diaryl oxalate diesters with hydrogen peroxide in the presence of a fluorescer. In typical lecture demonstrations, the commercially available oxalate diesters, bis(2,4,6-trichlorophenyl)oxalate (TCPO) or bis(2,4-nitrophenyl)oxalate (DNPO), are used. These compounds are dissolved in volatile, nonbiodegradable, and toxic organic solvents. The products of the chemiluminescent reaction are carbon dioxide and either 2,4,6-trichlorophenol or 2,4-dinitrophenol, both of which are aquatic and terrestrial toxins. To avoid these toxic pollution sources, we have designed an impressive chemiluminescent reaction employing divanillyl oxalate, 1.0 M NaOH, hydrogen peroxide, a fluorescer (e.g., perylene), and triacetin as solvent. The products of this "greener" chemiluminescent reaction are carbon dioxide and vanillin. Both vanillin and triacetin are biodegradable and possess minimal toxicity. This environmentally friendlier chemiluminescent reaction is visible in a darkened room for as long as 45 minutes. (Contains 2 schemes.)
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A